Facilitated by ENA Board Member Nathan Allan
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Meeting started at 7:00 pm at the First United Methodist Church
- Board Members: Sandia Slaby, Nathan Allan, Andrew & Katy Beattie, Whitney Bowerman, Pat Bayle, Sherry Chilcutt Beattie, Whitney Bowerman
- Others Present: Over twenty other residents & visitors
The Role of Neighborhood Associations
Mayor Stephen Buxbaum & Councilwoman Julie Hankins were invited to speak on the value and importance of active neighborhood associations (NAs) to the neighborhoods they represent, and as a part of the greater Olympia community.
They both emphasized the NAs as a subunit of a larger system, and the residents within them as the “best observers” of things that occur, how things work, and what is needed to best serve the residents. Councilwoman Hankins encouraged the ENA to regularly send a representative to the Coalition Of Neighborhood Associations meetings to find other neighborhoods facing similar issues. Everyone is welcome to attend the Coalition of Neighborhood Association Meetings, held on the second Monday of each month at City Hall.
“The best things happen through well-organized neighborhood associations” Mayor Buxbaum stated, “both good thing (building community infrastructure like parks, thoroughfares & gardens), and responding to negative situations.”
City Programs for Neighborhoods
The Mayor introduced three city programs (all are detailed on the City’s website):
- Matching Grant Program
- Neighborhood Pathways Program
- Code Enforcement Program .
The ENA has applied for some of these programs in the past. Some discussion was had this evening regarding the potential development of a walkway on the Madison School property in an area where people already travel. A Neighborhood Pathways Program application could be submitted for this project.
Other Topics Covered
A variety of other topics were touched on throughout the conversation:
- Monies for sidewalks – There was a bond initiative pasted in ~ 2004 creating money for sidewalks. The Mayor stated, “There are so many areas of Olympia that need sidewalks that don’t have them, it would take 50 years to install all of those, as it is now. There is no where near the resources allotted to do so or for the current maintenance alone.” He then added that this is an example of a topic where the City would welcome input from NAs regarding where these City funds will be best spent.
- Olympia’s Comprehensive Plan: the City is in the final stages of updating the Comprehensive Plan. Questions asked regarding the Comprehensive Plan included: Have statistics been gathered re: peak #s of bicyclists & pedestrians? How to encourage biking? How can the Mayor be stating the City is focusing strategically on efforts to diminish traffic congestion/bottlenecks, yet he/they voted to advise annexation of the Chamber St. ‘county island’ without any plans to address the increased traffic to through the Boulevard/Pacific intersection that recently proposed development in that area would create? Are there any plans to at least enforce/slow down traffic on Boulevard Rd.? Is there an plans to install the count-down system on the traffic lights on State Ave going down into Olympia?
The ENA can always use volunteer help. Anyone interested in becoming involved can contact the ENA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preservation of the Legion Way Oak Trees
Katy Beattie announced that she’d written and will present a letter to the City Council thanking them, and reminding them that they have made a commitment (and have allotted funds to maintain, and re-plant, as necessary) the oak tree border along Legion Way. The trees were topped in the 1960s, thus they are unhealthy, and individual trees are now being taken out and replaced when the City tree specialist deems it is a hazard.
Community Garden Project Update
Sandia Slaby reported that there has not been an adequate response of interest and commitment from ENA residents to warrant moving forward, at this point in time, with a community garden on the New Bridge Community Church property. Both the church and the ENA want to make sure there is plenty of energy, interest, and commitment before embarking on such an industrious endeavor in order to ensure it is successful. As of late, there have only been 8 people/households that have expressed interest in gardening there or providing significant help to build and maintain garden plots there. If anyone in the ENA becomes interested in helping to make this project happen at any time in the future, that person can contact the ENA Board to obtain the info necessary to pick the project back up. The church continues to be very interested in a collaborative effort to build a community garden.
Madison Elementary School Update
Dominico Spatola-Knoll, the new principal of the Madison Elementary (who is also an ENA resident) reported on the status of the school after the construction job that occurred there this last fall into this winter. All the students, pre-school through 5th graders, are back in the Madison Elementary after spending months at two other locations (one being New Bridge Community Church, which is the old Madison Elementary), while the unplanned structural renovation took place. Over 70% of the building’s outer walls had to be replaced due to finding severe deterioration inside the walls in the early fall. Some changes have occurred in the building (including energy-efficiency upgrades), and “the people (teacher/staff/students) are back, and it feels like we never left. Everyone is very happy with the results and with being back,” Dominico said.
An Open House at the school is scheduled for Tuesday, March 11th, the exact time TBA.
Election of ENA Board Members
The ENA by-laws state that the ENA must have between 10-20 board members at all times. This year we had several members with terms expiring. We thank each of you for your help and service to our community. In calling for new members tonight, four residents stepped up to join the Board, and they were unanimously approved (they will each now serve two-year terms). The new Board members are: Jim Longley, Kara Randall, Brian Brannies, & Sheena Pietzold.
- Dianna Fairbanks, of the Olympia Arts Commission, and a ENA resident, said they are looking for neighborhood artists that are interested in being part of an area art/artist tour, for folks to visit you at your home/studio to see you and your work in that location. They are also looking for artists to help organize this possible tour. Contact Dianna at olympiawa.gov/community/parks/arts-commission.
- Julie Puhich, of Common Ground Farm/CSA (from just west of Olympia’s westside) announced that they are expanding their membership & vegetables production for more households this year, including having a vegetable/share drop-off site on the Eastside this year. If you are interested in knowing more about what they grow, what is a CSA?, or other details, call 866-9527, or go visit the farm during their Open House (s) on either Saturday, March 15th or Sunday, April 13th – noon-4:pm.
We neglected to read the treasure’s reported at the meeting. Below is ENA’s current financial status:
- Checking account $275.56
- Savings account $328.52
- Neighborhood signs $1295.99
- Legion way trees $151.05
- Community beautification $504.68
- CD long term savings $1038.35
The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 pm.