First AME is holding a public meeting and forum Friday, April 29 beginning at 6 p.m. at the site of the old MLK Elementary building, which the organization purchased from the Seattle School District late last year for $2.4 million.
The public is invited to the Martin Luther King Family Arts Mentoring Enrichment Community Center at 32nd and Republican in Madison Valley to “discuss projects in your neighborhood, identified community center characteristics and interests, and your ideas,” according to the event flier. Attendees will have a chance to meet the executive director and FAME Community Center Board.
“We’re going to talk briefly to the community about what we had submitted and get from them what they would like to see in terms of the community center,” said Norward Brooks from First AME, who described the event as a meet-and-greet. “I hope that we can get more of the community involved in having the center operate because it is a center for the people in that community.”
The First AME bid for the school was the lowest of the three competing offers the school board received for the school, but the district determined that the organization’s planned programs and low space rental rates offered the highest value to the community.
The Seattle School District financial scandal that broke earlier this year put the MLK Elementary deal back in the news after allegations arose that FAME member Fred Stephens — who supervised Silas Potter, the man accused of wasting $1.8 million in district funds — helped his church win the bid. School Board Member Michael DeBell told Seattle Weekly that Stephens’ connection to the church was disclosed and that he did not play a role in board’s decision.
FAME has posted a “Statement of Facts” regarding the sale of the school property on their website.
Wasn’t able to make it to the meeting but would like a summary if anyone else on here went.
I arrived in time for part of the agenda where audience members were asking questions. The audience was mainly made up of AME members with a spattering of residents from the area. Some of the leaders from Madison Valley Community Council were present and stated that they hope to work together with FAME. My understanding is that most of the information was sort of how FAME came to be formed to buy the property with a bit of celebratory feeling among the AME membership. If they said how they were going to use 7-9 of the 14 available rooms I missed that. I believe that there will be 5 rooms available for lease outside of the FAME group. Making the playground available to the children in the neighborhood was also discussed. The Madison Valley Community Council members would probably be the best source of information.
regarding playground, when asked if neighborhood kids can use playground the fame rep said if nobody else is using it, they also must ask permission and if ok’d, must supervise their children. It was about 90% fame members , they did not get the word to the neighborhood well at all. I did not see anything about the community(of madison valley) being able to stop by and play inside the gym or really anywhere on their property…
Everybody was very nice and said all the nice things, time will tell if residents of the neighborhood will get any use of the facilities at all.
They said they may have 1 room leased to an business and were looking for tenants for the rest of the rooms.
Mostly it came off as a big celebratory meeting for them.
The pastor said we can email fame with program suggestions, didn’t seem to want to get into it last night.
sounds like a community center without the madison valley residents being able to use the playground?
No one can question FAME’s history and it’s contrabutions to the black community. Can we all agree that things change with the times. I the case of this situation, we have a $2.8 million low winning bid, an inside man (Fred Stephens), a meeting with the community salted with FAME church members, negative comments from the few neighborhood members in attendance and no comments in FAME’s defence. Sounds like a Big Business take over of government property for private use to me. What say you?
They actually only bid 2.4 million, the amount that the State would give them to “buy” it.
I wonder if a white organization had bought the MLK site, if there would be soooooooo much chatter about it? RACISM and bigotry is still alive and well I see. Wow.
tims, are u saying the government is financing the FAME low winning bid. If so, how can that be? Please explain. THENERVE-I wonder myself, what if a white org. was awarded the property with the low bid, a insider with questionable credentials and a secrete meeting to get the community’s input. You would hear me, for what its worth. Will somebody clear up the low bid, insider, secret meeting. Maybe FAME would ask MR. NORWARD BROOKS to speak to that.
The State of WA dept. of Commerce gave them 2.4 mil. to pay for this, it is well known and many articles here regarding it. [email protected] also would have used those funds if they were selected. Bush was the only bid not using public funds.
The high bid NERVE was a school-Bush(appr. 70% white), they did not get it and certainly there would have been more chatter about that if they got it. You always seem to make this a racism thing, its not. The neighborhood group [email protected] seemed to have been the neighborhood favorite and had higher bid than fame, and was made up of people that live in the neighborhood, but fame had too many inside connections with many former and present school connections.
Will somebody PLEASE tell us what tims is saying isn’t true or at least taken out of contects . If you don’t or can’t, it looks like: Big Business, under cover of a church, with schoolboard connections, winning a schoolboard property with a low bid and government money. Mr. Brook where are you?
Here is one of many stories from this site, just do a search for more,