12th Avenue Community meets with Councilmember Joe McDermott

Meeting hosts King County Councilmember;  also hears from City on progress of new park

Following recent redistricting, a neighborhood that has been represented at different times in the last ten years by either Larry Gossett or Larry Phillips is now represented by King Council Councilmember Joe McDermott who met with the 12th Avenue Stewards on Tuesday, November 13.

McDermott started his remarks by recognizing that there is no north/south public transit route on 12th Avenue, something that the community has pressed for a long time.

Much of the conversation focused on the community’s hopes for the redevelopment of the Youth Services site at 12th and Alder.  Planning is just beginning on building two new buildings on site to replace the existing Youth Services Courthouse and Juvenile Detention Center.  Once those two new buildings are in place the existing buildings will be demolished and the County will proceed to develop the remainder of the site with new residences and, on 12th Avenue, commercial space. See previous CD News coverage.

Community members urged that the new development be less “monolithic” and reintroduce the street grid that was destroyed several decades ago when the current campus was developed.  McDermott stated that he was sympathetic to the community’s request that planning for the site put more emphasis on improving and encouraging the use of public transportation and less on building a parking garage that is up to twice as big as the one currently on the site and he is “not yet convinced” that twice as many spaces are needed.

The conceptual plans for the new site show that open space will be included, although the location is not certain.  Currently, the northeast corner of the site is occupied by the Marvin Oliver sculpture “Spirit of our Youth” consisting of a bronze whale fin and surrounding sculpted earth.  The importance of  significant open space in a neighborhood-serving location was conveyed to McDermott.

The Councilmember was asked whether or not the County had plans for moving towards a more active use of the space that is currently occupied by the County Archives on Yesler just across the street from Bailey Gatzert School.  McDermott said he didn’t know, but was glad to be made aware of the issue.

The group, consisting of about thirty neighborhood residents, business owners, and institutional representatives also heard from Patrick Donohue of the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation with an update on the planning and development of the new City park to be built at 12th and James Ct, to be known as 12th Avenue Square Park.  It’s expected that the park will be built next year.  The current task of the neighborhood is to raise the final amount of money making it possible to put in place the artwork that all agree is essential to the park.  Approximately $70,000 is needed.  Strategies were discussed.

All who are interested in 12th Avenue are invited to take part in 12th Avenue Stewards meetings held monthly.  The current schedule is the second Tuesday of the month at 5:30 P.M. at the Seattle U. A.and A. Building, 12th and E. Marion.   12th Avenue Seattle on Facebook.  for more information

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