A formerly defunct neighborhood council has been resurrected: The Garfield Community Council (GCC) recently reconvened after a 15-year hiatus. The group is in the final stages of reforming, adopting by-laws and filing articles of incorporation.
“The GCC was active as a neighborhood-wide organization until about 15 years ago. Its membership dwindled and a block watch around Yesler and 24th continued to use the name but didn’t perform community council functions. With that group’s blessing, we are in the final stages of reactivating the GCC as typical community council,” says Brendan Patrick, one of the major players in resurrecting the council. The group began reforming at the beginning of the year and will elect their first executive board in September.
The council represents a corridor of the Central District between Howell and Jackson streets to the north and south and Martin Luther King Jr. Way and 23rd Avenue to the east and west. Patrick says this new council is serving an area not currently represented by other community councils.
Patrick says each of the major players has his or her own reason for wanting to reactivate the organization.
“For me, it grew out of tragic incidents last summer when I witnessed two shootings, each within a block of my home. While organizing around safety issues with other neighbors, we realized that our neighborhood around MLK and Columbia wasn’t represented by any of the surrounding community councils,” Patrick says. “We felt there was a need to have a community council organizing the heart of the Central District and advocating our interests to city government.”Though the GCC’s direction will evolve over time and as new members join, initially there has been interest in land use and development issues, safety and policing, honoring the neighborhood’s diversity and history, and supporting events like the UmojaFest, Hopscotch CD, and the Seattle Police Department’s Night Out program.
“We are also interested in ensuring that city grant funds don’t overlook our neighborhood. We can do that in two ways. First, we can promote the grant programs and encourages groups (or ourselves) to submit applications. In the last round of grants from the Neighborhood Street and Parks Fund, there were no applications from the Central District. That should never happen,” Patrick says. “Second, we’ll have a representative at the Central Area Neighborhoods District Council (CANDC), which is the city-sanctioned umbrella organization that includes representatives from all the community councils in the area. The CANDC plays a role in deciding which neighborhood grant applications are approved.”
Patrick encourages interested parties to email or call him for information on how to get involved: [email protected], 206.310.8112.
Thanks Megan for introducing us to the CD community. I’d like to introduce myself: I’m Jonathan Konkol, and I chair the Garfield CC’s Land Use and Transportation Committee. I’m an urban planner and I’m currently studying architecture at UW.
I see the possibility of a lot of change in store for our corner of the CD in coming years, and I joined this council because I believe it is extremely important that we organize and develop a community vision for our future so that we’re not overwhelmed by that change. Nothing stays the same for ever, but together, we have a much greater chance of steering new development away from worst case scenarios and towards practices that represent the kind of community we want to be. I will be looking out for proposed developments in the Garfield district, as well as any changes proposed by the city’s planning and transportation bureaus. I will let community members know what’s going on at our monthly meetings and help coordinate a community response when needed. I can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions or issues you’d like to see addressed in upcoming meetings.