Gathering of Neighbors!

What makes West Seattle livable and healthy?” That was the question proposed during Gathering of Neighbors, held at Youngstown this weekend. Members from the West Seattle community gathered to share stories, identify community assets, and develop ideas and tools to help Delridge and other West Seattle neighborhoods develop programs and services that address community concerns.

I had the pleasure of coordinating the opening session with Tina LaPadula and Maketa Wilborn, who co-facilitated the morning expertly.  Attendees got on their feet and met other folks from the community with some ice-breakers, then were led into small group discussions to focus on the strengths and assets already present here in West Seattle, with follow up questions focused on what will make West Seattle MORE livable and healthy.  Tina worked to distill the feedback we got and Maketa created a visual representation of the group present and the ideas generated.

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Following the morning session, participants self-selected into four breakout workshops:

The transportation discussion, led by the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, focused on the community’s concern over the lack of mobility. Advocates also asserted that residents need more ready access to affordable and healthy food options.

The West Seattle Land Use Committee led the discussion of land use; the organization launched in August and has quickly gained traction as a voice in the neighborhood. The conversation brought up issues of infrastructure and historic preservation.

In another room, the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network headed the discussion on public safety and crime prevention. Community members expressed their opinions, concerns and brainstormed solutions to the issues.

Tracy Record of the West Seattle Blog led the fourth breakout workshop, sharing resources with participants for how to access, and disseminate, information about goings-on in and around West Seattle.

After the breakout sessions, attendees broke off into two main groups for moderated discussions on two topics, one the Fauntleroy Way SW Boulevard Project, the other being the North Delridge Action Plan.  I was engrossed in the North Delridge planning, as that is more near and dear to me and my role at DNDA and Youngstown.  I hope the Fauntleroy group was productive – but I can certainly say we had fun offering our feedback about Delridge!

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We broke into two groups, gathered around maps of North Delridge, and identified centers of activity, gathering spaces (Youngstown proved, no surprise, to be an invaluable resource to our community!), potential transportation improvements, and more.

It was both a ton of fun, and informative for the folks from the city working to bring these ideas to reality!

Thanks to everyone who helped organize, and to all those who attended.  Big thanks also to the event’s sponsors, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Nucor Steel, VIEWS, and of course DNDA and Youngstown.

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