More than 150 people pack into Lake City Future First kickoff event at Elliott Bay to discuss future of community

Community members listen to a presentation by Janet Arkills, founder of Families for Lake City.

Community members listen to a presentation by Janet Arkills, founder of Families for Lake City. (LCL photo)

When Janet Arkills worked with a realtor to purchase her home, there was never a mention of Lake City. It was marketed as a home in the Olympic Hills neighborhood, she told a packed room Wednesday night. As she told the story of the realtor’s apparent attempt to distance the sale from Lake City, dozens of other people in the room nodded in agreement that they had similar experiences.

In the past there has been a certain perception of Lake City that led some realtors and businesses to attempting to disassociate with the community. “There has been no pride,” said one attendee.

Well a strong, successful and financially-backed effort to help change that kicked off Wednesday with the public launch of Lake City Future First.

The gathering at Elliott Bay brought together more than 150 residents where they learned about some of the major projects coming together in the community. Information was presented about the future redevelopment of the Pierre properties, traffic safety improvements coming to Lake City Way, urban design, and the development of a stronger business community here.

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Click on image to see more suggestions from community members.

During the event, community members were asked to write down elements that they think would make Lake City a better place. As usual, sidewalks dominated the suggestions. But there were also some new and interesting suggestions. They ranged from a wireless Internet network to hanging flower baskets and a bike shop. You can see a post where we featured some of the suggestions by clicking here.

Speakers from the Seattle Department of Transportation, Department of Planning and Development and Deputy Seattle Mayor Hyeok Kim also delivered remarks at the Future First kickoff.

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SDOT offers information. (LCL photo)

Lake City Future First is a new community leadership group that will help administer the Only in Seattle grant awarded to the community by the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development. In April Lake City was awarded $30,000 to hire a consulting firm to develop a strategic plan for the business district. The multi-year program is designed for Seattle neighborhoods to strengthen and improve their business districts.

The event wrapped up with John Hayden of Lake City’s own Jamtown fair trade music instruments leading the large group in community drumming. The rhythm created by the group was symbolic of what could be accomplished when a community works together, each person with their own small part. The rhythm made by the Lake City community was pretty impressive.

You can see a video of the drumming below.

Community members drum together as the event wraps up. (LCL photo)

Community members drum together as the event wraps up. (LCL photo)