Community Post

Madrona Community Council "in crisis" due to lack of involvement

Last night’s monthly meeting of the Madrona Community Council was a sober one, as officers expressed concern over the lack of community participation and the fear that the council could potentially cease to exist.

“It’s disheartening,” said outgoing MCC president Cynthia Stross, who said the council was “in crisis”. “I don’t know how to increase people’s commitment to any form of involvement.”

Tuesday night’s meeting was supposed to be a venue to accept nominations for new positions on the council, but with only five people in attendance the nominations had to be postponed until next month’s meeting. The council currently has three open positions: president, vice president and treasurer. 

Stross said she was surprised that no one had even expressed interest in the open positions, given that it is a low time commitment and an easy way to be involved in the close-knit Madrona community.

If the council were to dissolve, it would almost certainly mean the end of Madrona neighborhood traditions like the hanging flower baskets, Mayfair and some of the Halloween festivities. The Madrona BBQ has already been discontinued due to lack of organizers for the end-of-summer event.

The end of the council would also mean the end of the community newsletter, which is already in jeopardy. We wrote last month about how the fate of Madrona News is in question with long-time editor Kim Herber set to retire after this year. The newsletter is also running at a deficit and at its current rate will be $5000 in debt each year. 

The council will take nominations from the floor for the open positions at the November 2 meeting, and encouraged anyone with any interest in the positions to attend and learn more about what the council does.

What do you think it will take to get Madrona residents more involved with the community council?

0 thoughts on “Madrona Community Council "in crisis" due to lack of involvement

  1. this is a bigger problem than just Mad Valley. much of the CD councils are hurting.

    this lack of engagement by citizens is leading to stealth up zoning (low rise densities are being increased as are building heights – as much as 14 ft in L3/L4) and we are facing budget cuts that will have marked affects on our community.

    south lake union gets parks, trolley, new streets. they are vocal and active. we are asleep.

  2. Does the CD have a Community Council? Who represents the businesses on Union, Madison or 23rd Ave? Thanks.

  3. I don’t live in Madrona and am not sure what the agenda was for this meeting. Publicizing the meeting and the agenda is important.

    Engaging the community can be difficult and frustrating. I note that the library has a workshop on the Small Sparks grants intended for the purpose helping to engage your community:

    There are several organizations and efforts. The Squire Park Community Council is meeting this Saturday. The agenda and meeting information are posted on the calendar here. Meeting information for the CD Public Art Project have been announced as the 4th Monday of the month at 7pm at the Lutheran Church on 22nd and E. Union. There is a Garfield Council and one in Leschi. For sure, some are more visible and thus more easily found than others.

    The CD is a fairly large area and generally would fare better if there were viable councils representing all areas. There is plenty of work left to be done. I think CD news, for instance, is one tool that can facilitate communications.

    Ted Divina should also be able to help you locate Councils and current contact information for each:
    Ted Divina Neighborhood District Coordinator [email protected]

    The umbrella Central District Council doesn’t seem to broadly publicize their meetings.

  4. there is nothing more irritating than busybody neighborhood blog crawlers who read through neighborhood blogs and post insanely stupid comments about people who are trying to make their community a better place.

    For anyone who wants to post lame crap on community blogs, may your internet bill go unpaid.

  5. Whoah. Yeah, it’s so annoying when people want to get together and make their community a better place. Let’s just let it all go to heck. In fact, the whole concept of the “public good” is just way overblown. Let’s just stop paying taxes. We don’t need police, fire protection, parks, schools, street maintenance…

  6. If nothing else, community councils represent a more effective way for neighbors to communicate with the City. They also organize clean-ups, community programs, and opportunities for neighbors to meet each other and connect to their community.

    It is not difficult work, or necessarily time-consuming. And, of course, everyone is busy. But I believe a sense of neighborhood and neighbors directly impacts my quality of life — and my kids’ quality of life. (That is why I have been on the council for three years.) But it needs new volunteers and I truly hope we get some.

  7. Umm Mad Valley is not Madrona is not Squire Park is not Garfield.

    Some have no community council, some are trying to get them going, and they all have problems. People need to be able to do what is reasonable, but gee I’d miss the hanging baskets at 34th.

    Madison Valley is doing fine, regular council meetings and a newsletter paid for by advertising. It is thanks to volunteers who often work alone. While the council meetings might not be large, the community has tackled and succeeded with some major issues — like the flooding. Quarterly potlucks have consistent participation. Greater Madison Valley Community Council also maintains a consistent relationship/collaboration with the Mad Valley business owners.

    There is a Central Area Neighborhood District Council, within the Department of Neighborhoods structure, that is effectively a coalition of community councils and non-profits.

    So you gotta have at least the basics, officers, standing meetings, and a means of communication, to be represented when the dollars are prioritized.

  8. the people I know who work on community councils live in the neighborhoods they represent. In fact, I can’t imagine why someone who didn’t live in a neighborhood would have any interest in being involved with its community council – non-profit groups being the only exception I can think of.

  9. it’s also true that SLU has Vulcan and Paul Allen, so apples to horseshoes in terms of neighborhood clout there.

    But it is completely true, as Scott has documented many times, that the CD doesn’t get as much $$ from the City as other neighborhoods that are better organized and fight for what they want.

  10. Hi Maxima,

    I really like your ideas. When is the next Tea Party get together in Madrona? I’d love to meet you.