Community Post

MLK property goes to First AME in 5-2 vote

Thanks to CDNews member Truman who sent us the details on last night’s school board vote on the fate of the old MLK school property in Madison Valley.

The board voted 5-2 to approve the sale to First AME church, which will use it to run a new series of social services to help children, veterans, and others.

Directors Martin-Morris and Smith-Blum voted against the measure after their amendments were voted down by the rest of the board. Smith-Blum was in favor of further studies to determine whether the district should keep the property, and Martin-Morris was in favor of selling the property to CCC@MLK, a group of Madison Valley residents who wanted to use the property for a community center.

Adrienne Bailey, President of CCC@MLK issued a brief statement following the vote. “Obviously we wanted a different outcome, with a decision ensuring a community center of, by and for the community. The property covenant ensures some community use of the property, but we want to make sure the community has input into the programming at the space.”  

First AME now has 60 days to prepare title paperwork, inspect the building, and gather the  $2.4 million in funds to purchase the building. The majority of that amount will be provided by the State of Washington, which has set aside capital funds to allow community groups to purchase abandoned school buildings.

0 thoughts on “MLK property goes to First AME in 5-2 vote

  1. If there’s even a prayer left to stop this, it might be that FAME doesn’t actually have the taxpayers’ money yet.  This school board vote just assures that they get title to the property when the money arrives.  I don’t have details, but apparently FAME now has to finalize funding from the state – probably a rubber stamp process, but If there is enough outrage about the state giving MILLIONS of dollars to a no-tax paying church while trying to raise our taxes perhaps we can put a stop to this craziness!

  2. I am going to vote NO on every single school funding bond levy that comes up for a vote from here on out. There is no rational economic basis for the School Board’s vote. Bush has the money to pay for its bid today AND came in at a higher bid for the property; First AME (a very worth organization, without a doubt) has to TAKE the money from taxpayers before it can even meet the financing commitment of its lower bid. And yet the School Board has the audacity to suggest that lack of funding is a problem with Seattle schools?

    I am also insulted by the finding that AME is more valuable to the community. The Bush School turns out wonderful young adults who are engaged in the community and make positive contributions. Could it be that a private school like Bush is in fact seen as a threat to the career stability of the School Board members because they offer a competing product to the ineptitude of Seattle Public Schools?

  3. home? their church is on Capitol Hill. Why cheer them parachuting in on the taxpayer dime to a residential neighborhood to pedal social services. Stay on Capitol Hill.

  4. First no building that has housed students that recently is in the huge disrepair outlined here. Requirements for current codes after it has been unoccupied for a certain number of years seem to change and often include such things as the number of outlets required. The District allowed many other facilities to go unoccupied for much longer and to deteriorate much more than this one. The roof, for instance is good, it is seismically sound, the foundation and structure is good. And, the building is actually quite attractive inside. Many wonderful old buildings that have been in continual use probably have a higher rating of basic building condition and quality than do many newer ones despite not being in line exactly with all current codes for connectivity etc.

  5. It’s not the problem with what First AME is offering, it’s where they are doing it and how they were given, yes GIVEN the property. The vast majority (if not all) of the families on this block do not want a social service center in disrepair on their street. We want to live in a quiet, peaceful residential neighborhood without traffic. Bush is a responsible neighbor, First AME is an unknown for us. Assuming the money comes thru time will tell if First AME lives up to the hype.

  6. At least you are honest about things. I appreciate that even if I completely disagree with your stance.

  7. As an actual resident of Madison Valley it isn’t that the services FAME provides aren’t worthy but it is disappointing to have a Church from outside the neighborhood, with no neighborhood ties and virtually no neighborhood support come in and create something that the neighborhood does not want. I am surprised FAME is so aggressively pushing this when the neighborhood does not want it. The neighborhood wanted a community center and/or playfields so that the actual residents of the neighborhood could gather and enjoy community. The majority of school board obviously didn’t care at all about what the neighborhood wanted and the committee that signed off on the proposal picked FAME over CCC@MLK was that CCC@MLK was charging slightly more rent per sq ft and rent for the gym, otherwise their two proposals both provided 60% child and youth services. What community center in town doesn’t charge rental fees? The whole process and decision criteria was absurd.

  8. First AME has direct ties to the central district and Madison Valley is in the Central district. And Madison Valley has significant historical ties with First AME. First AME is no more “from outside the neighborhood” than anyone else who isn’t born and raised in this neighborhood. First AME has always had ties to the central.

    Do the “actual” residents of the neighborhood not want free use of the gym to gather and enjoy community? Are they not supportive of other community groups who may collaborate with First AME?

    In this case I’m glad the school board saw through the NIMBY attitude and selfish goals of a select set of residents and saw the bigger picture. They don’t always do that. I think this may piss off some MV residents who thought they would get their way. I guess reason can prevail with the board sometimes.

    On a side note, are the 2 community centers in close proximity not good enough? Miller and Garfield are close and many neighborhoods all over Seattle don’t have that benefit. It’s like certain Madison Valley residents don’t want to be a part of the central district. They know they are not Madison Park and not capitol hill. They are in the CD but don’t want to be.