2014 ENA Annual Meeting Minutes

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?

Get Involved!

The ENA can always use volunteer help. Anyone interested in becoming involved can contact the ENA at [email protected].

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.

Treasurer’s report

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.

Community Garden Update

New Bridge Community Church has allotted space on their property at Central Ave & 8th-10th Ave to create a community garden space. We want to know if there is the need/interest in the neighborhood to warrant this project. Are you someone who is interested in there being, and/or having the opportunity to grow food &/or flowers with others in a setting where each person or household can have their own plots but where the upkeep, tools, supplies, etc. are shared.

HOPE to HEAR FROM any INTERESTED PARTIES ASAP, for we have to ascertain within the next few weeks if there is enough interest & energy to get this project off the ground for the 2014 growing season, & to see if it will be a sustainable endeavor.
This is an awesome opportunity, but one that will require a couple handfuls of people with varying levels of energy to make it happen. Are you one of those?? There are now six (6) that have expressed interest/commitment so far. ANY MORE??? Contact me at: [email protected]. I’m the liaison for ENA & NBCC on this proposal.

Community Garden Possibility

 Another Community Garden possibility is brewing in our neighborhood.   We need help to SPREAD THE WORD,  so pls. read on, and reply to this inquiry, ASAP!

New Bridge Community Church initiated a conversation about their hosting a community garden on their property off Central Ave., between 8th & 10 Ave., including raised planter beds & irrigation water. A first meeting occurred on that property this fall with representatives from the church (Doug & Rhonda) & the ENA (Sandia & Meta) to scope out the best garden plot locations, and to imagine what such a garden would entail.

  •  Following that initial on-site meeting, both organizations (NBCC & ENA)  are now in the process of ascertaining from our members what levels of interest & energy there actually are  for the creation & use of such a Community Garden.  NBCC is clearly interested in hosting this project, but they do not have the people-power to spearhead or manage it. NBCC is “committed to hosting a community garden for one season, following which [they] want to evaluate whether it is working” for them; the meaning thereof to be explored ahead of time, of course.
  • On the church’s end,  the current assessment is to include just where on the property is best for them & their deciding what financial commitment they can make (beyond their offer to cover the water fees) toward the set up of such a garden enterprise (i.e. lumber for beds, for fencing, a tool shed, etc.)
  • On our (ENA’s) part, this assessment is mostly of what actual interest exists in neighborhood residents for such gardening space; where water is available & community members would  share some tools & some supply purchases – esp. bigger ones; would seasonally ‘rent’ their own growing bed(s), exchange expertise, etc. (The size & price of a ‘bed’ is still to be determined, but space would be approx. 8 – 12 x 4’ – the cost of one in similar projects in Olympia is ~$35/year).

In order for this project to get off the ground in time to be ready for the 2014 planting season,  only a few months away now, we need  PROMPT RESPONSES to the following questions.  These responses will be the major basis for us deciding whether there is enough interest & energy within our neighborhood, at this time, to make this community garden happen.   Let us know:

  • 1)  are you truly interested in having a gardening plot & gardening on such a site  at least in the 2014  growing season?

  • 2)  which of the following would you commit to for this first year, at least:

    • a)  helping with the registration (even recruiting) of interested gardeners;

    • b)   assessing quantities of carpentry supplies needed to build planting beds;

    • c)   ordering such supplies;

    • d)   assessing & ordering needed soil mix;

    • e)   coordinating volunteers at some time, sooner or later;

             f)    participating in at 1-2 work parties to help with the creation of the beds/plots.

    • g)   committing to ½ -1 hour/week help throughout the growing season for upkeep of the whole project, via clean-up alone or within a work party, or a meeting.

Please  RESPOND to THE ABOVE QUESTIONS – BY Jan 18th – if  you want to be & would be committed to being involved for at least the first season- 2014. For starters, we figure we need at least 3-4 people who are committed to helping with the initial organizing, another 5+  who are committed to helping with the initial building of the garden beds &  10 households who want to garden at this site next season.  So, TELL YOUR NEIGHBORS & FRIENDS  SOON of this community opportunity!

BY Jan 18, 2014, we at least need a small core of people/gardeners to express a commitment of interest & willingness to help with above mentioned activities to get this baby off the ground & keep this Community Garden possibility alive for the 2014 season.

Cut & paste your answers to the questions & send to: [email protected].
You can address any questions YOU have to Sandia as well.  AND, check back here for updates on the responses over the next 6 weeks.

Sandia Slaby,  ENA Secretary