Category Archives: Development

Your help needed to advocate for new community center, Monday deadline

This message comes from the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance and is an important one. The deadline to write the City Council to advocate for a new community center is Monday, November 10:

The current Lake City Community Center

The current Lake City Community Center

IF YOU HAVE JUST FIVE OR TEN MINUTES TO DO SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT FOR YOUR COMMUNITY—DO THIS. We need you to write to the Seattle City Council in support of a full-service Lake City Community Center. Please do this by Monday, latest!


Over the past several weeks, the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance has been steadily advocating for a full-service community center in Lake City, to serve children, youth, seniors, and all of us. Lake City offers pitifully few services for our children, youth, and older adults. Those of us with means and mobility can go to other neighborhoods, but our many neighbors who don’t are left behind. We need and deserve the recreational, cultural, and educational opportunities that come with a full-service facility here in Lake City.

Right now

Three of our City Council members, Sally Clark, Tim Burgess, and Mike O’Brien, are sponsoring a “Statement of Legislative Intent” that calls upon the Parks Department to report back to the Council by August 2015 with alternatives, including funding plans, for rehabilitating or rebuilding Lake City Community Center. Council Member Nick Licata has been the driving force behind this, but because he is the council budget chair and needs to be a neutral negotiator, he did not sign on—although he can still vote to support.

What we need from you

As an individual or a representative of a group, write an email to all of our City Council members, expressing in your own words why we need a full-service community center in Lake City. We need these communications to go out as soon as possible. You can do it over the weekend, but do it by Monday!

Here are some factors:

  • A growing population of children and youth
  • Many older adults with few senior services
  • Very little park space
  • No consistent programming such as that found at other neighborhoods’ community centers

What would you like to see—sport courts? A pool? A senior center? A community kitchen? Meeting rooms? All of the above? Tell the Council!
We have an historic opportunity, here. We must show a groundswell of support for the current council action, as it is a critical first step on our way to getting a full-service community center in Lake City. We want all of the Council members to vote in favor of this project!

You can send just one email to all the council members at once. Cut and paste these addresses into your recipient line and write your unique request:

Thank you, friends! Let’s make this happen together.


Old Aqua Dive building demolished


Many longtime Lake City residents learned to swim in the pool at the old Aqua Dive Swim and Fitness Club.

A few months back, a Facebook thread about the old swim club had people waxing nostalgic about the sound of kids echoing from the ceiling, swimming lessons, parties there, and of course the strong smell of chlorine that came from the facility.

There were lots of memories made in that old facility.


Today, the forgotten Lake City swim club, where generations learned to reach, pull and kick, was turned into a pile of rubble.

The building sat vacant for years after it was closed. The building had become a sort of magnet for illegal activity and had regular homeless encampments inside. A neighborhood effort got the attention of the current owner of the property, who agreed it needed to come down.

From a blog post when the facility permanently closed in 2006:

Lake City has lost a warm and welcoming community gathering place –not to mention the cleanest and clearest pool water found in our city.  Nothing like a huge, over-sized sand filtration system (built when land was cheap) for clean water.  Your locker rooms might have seen better days, but they had accumulated decades of stories and friendships.  Your hot tub might have been intermittently hot in recent years, but it was always full of friends when your boilers ran full steam.

RIP AquaDive. You are irreplaceable to so many of us.  We relied on your calm, warm water for rehab and friendship. We’ll miss you.

‘World Of Tastes in the Heart of Lake City’ kicks off at last Farmers Market of season


Today, Thursday, October 2nd, is the final day of the 2014 farmers market season. But don’t worry, it’s not the end of tasty food-centric events in the neighborhood. At the market, Lake City Future First is kicking off its “World Of Tastes in the Heart of Lake City” business support program.

The goal of the program is to support our diverse neighborhood food establishments, and to help community members discover some of the offerings here in Lake City. “We want to support our local establishments and enhance our economic development model to both retain and attract businesses,” said an announcement from the organization. Info follows:

We want to strengthen all the ties within our community and connecting you to some of our fantastic food offerings here in Lake City in a meaningful way will further our growing sense of community and place.

Let those business owners that you are familiar with know that you are glad they took part and use this as an opportunity to visit the places you had been meaning to check out but hadn’t found the time.

How Does It Work? Simply stop into any one of our participating businesses to pick up a passport and get started. Visit all seven locations and make your purchase to receive your stamp. Purchase a single entrée from a participating restaurant or spend $10.00 at one of the specialty markets and earn a stamp from each location. Once you have completed the passport with all seven stamps, return it to the Kaffeeklatsch by October 31, 2014 and you will automatically be entered to win our grand prize. One winner will be chosen at random and notified via the contact information they provided on the card within 24 hours of the drawing.

Who is participating? The following restaurants and markets are taking part in our first effort:

Mania Manila / Elliot Bay Brewing Co. / Pho An / Erawan Bankok Thai / Lake City Gyros / Beer Authority / Kaffeeklatsch

The generous prizes and additional support through donations to cover costs associated with the passport are provided by Two Dog Yoga – Kaffeeklatsch – Elliot Bay Brewing – Print Fusion

What can I win? $50 Gift Cards to both Kaffeeklatsch and Elliot Bay – 5 Free Yoga Sessions at Two Dog Yoga (over $100 value) and a $50 VISA gift card.

Don’t see your favorite spot on the list? We had so many wonderful businesses to choose from and not all were able to take part at this time. Let your favorites know that you would love to see them get involved next time.

Please join us in engaging with our business community by participating in the first of what we hope will be an ongoing support program.


Olympic Hills Greenway lined with new stop signs


Chances are if you have driven in the Olympic Hills neighborhood in recent weeks you have noticed lots of changes on some roads.

A neighborhood greenway on 27th Avenue NE from NE 145th Street to NE 130th Street is taking shape. The route will give cyclists and pedestrians the same priority on the roadway as automobiles.

Crews from Seattle Department of Transportation were out on Monday preparing dozens of intersections for new stop signs. Pavement markings were applied and temporary stop signs placed at dozens of intersections along the route.

So as you drive through the neighborhood, be aware that some intersections that used to have roundabouts or no signage may now require a stop.

The route is expected to be done in coming weeks and is the first part of a proposed network in Lake City.

New DreamGirls at Rick’s illuminated video sign stirs controversy

Update: A City of Seattle inspector visited DreamGirls at Rick’s and found that the images displayed on the sign over the weekend were in violation of the permit issued for the illuminated video sign. You can see a report from KOMO/4, which happened to have a crew present during the visit, below.

The sign controversy and Rick’s management’s toeing the line on the rules is getting the business and their logo plenty of airtime.

(Original report below)

The new Rick's sign is causing controversy.

The new Rick’s sign is causing controversy.

A large video sign permitted by the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development in front of DreamGirls at Rick’s strip club is causing controversy. The sign has been installed on the property adjacent to bus stops used by many Nathan Hale students.

We originally published a story about the coming sign in June. You can read that here.

The permit issued by the City of Seattle for the 8-foot by 16-foot sign atop a 30-foot pole says images on the sign “shall not change more than 7 times per minute. No flashing, no video display methods, and no off-premises advertising is permitted by city ordinance.”

When viewing this sign during its first weekend of operation, it did seem to violate the “video display methods” requirement as there was motion in some of the images. It also quickly changed its state of illumination in a way that could be perceived as flashing.

You can see the sign operating in the video below and be the judge if it is following the rules set by the city:

In recent years, DreamGirls, owner of Rick’s, has battled with the Seattle Mariners over the location of a strip club and notably the illuminated sign next to Safeco Field. The dispute over the strip club led the Mariners to sue DreamGirls’ and the City of Seattle. Lawsuit filed here.

The Mariners eventually dropped the suit in an agreement with DreamGirls after the strip club chain agreed to not show certain types of images during days that the team was hosting events for children.

The City of Seattle is limited in its ability to dictate rules for signs because ones like Rick’s are legal and legislation and rules have not kept up with changing technology.

Over the last year the strip club has found itself in hot water with the City of Seattle and community groups after it topped the street trees in front of the business (our story here). The City has ordered the business to replant trees equal to the size they would have been before the aggressive trimming.

A community group also fought the placement of a large van with provocative imagery parked at the business and illuminated backpack signs people were paid to wear and walk along Lake City Way at night.

KING/5 reported on the sign over the weekend. In their report they found some of the images on the sign provocative enough that they blurred out images of dancing women and jiggling body parts. You can see their report below.

Over the weekend the sign caused many people to contact Lake City Live to voice concern. The sign sparked a discussion on our Facebook page about Lake City Way and the perception of the road that runs through our community.

The permit for the new sign also required removal of the classic neon Rick’s.

Seattle Drum School building being sold, looks to old Fire Station 39 as possible new location

Steve Smith, owner of the Seattle Drum School, is shown at the building  in north Seattle on May 4, 2013. ( photo used with permission)

Steve Smith, director of the Seattle Drum School, is shown at the building on 15th Avenue NE. ( photo used with permission)

In a post on The Stranger’s Slog, writer Trent Moorman reports that the Seattle Drum School in NE Seattle will likely have to move because their building is in the process of being sold. The building is in need of extensive and costly code updates.

City leaders and Lake City residents gather at the old Fire Station 39. (LCL photo)

City leaders and Lake City residents gather at the old Fire Station 39. (LCL photo)

The post on Slog titled “DEAR MAYOR MURRAY, Please Don’t Let an Automotive Parts Storage Lot Go Where Seattle Drum School Could Go” says that school owner Steve Smith is working to convince the City of Seattle that the school should be allowed to reopen in Lake City’s old Fire Station 39 building.

The City of Seattle has announced previously that a lease was being worked out with Pierre Auto Centers to use the building as parts storage for the car dealerships until a permanent decision can be made on the future of the property. That lease was planned to be for two years and was supported by the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance as a mechanism to buy time while plans for the future of the civic core of Lake City are drawn up.

From The Stranger’s post:

Drum School director Steve Smith says the city has other options for this fire station property, and they need supporters to let the Mayor’s office and the city council know that Seattle Drum School belongs in Lake City.

Smith said, “What we need now more than anything is the city’s cooperation and support. We think there’s a lot of enthusiasm inside the city’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) for our attempt in acquiring the fire station. They have stressed repeatedly that getting politicians involved in the process is going to be critical to our success.

However, relocating to the old fire station is complicated. Like their current building on 15th Avenue Northeast, the fire station needs significant updates to bring it to code, including a seismic retrofit. And in a recent social media post, Lake City Neighborhood Alliance representative Janine Blaeloch —acknowledging the importance of the Seattle Drum School to the community— explained that Lake City is in the middle of creating an Urban Design Framework for Lake City’s Hub Urban Village and that the Pierre storage lease would keep the site as-is for two years while the Urban Design Framework is formulated. It has also been proposed that lease money paid to the City by the Pierres could go to help fund the Urban Design Framework effort.

“This is a more complicated siting issue than it may appear,” Blaeloch wrote. “It’s clear the Drum School has a lot of good will in the community, and I, too, hope they can stay in the Lake City area, but the old FS 39 site is not the uncomplicated solution it may seem.”

We will keep you updated as we get more info on the future of the Seattle Drum School. If you know of a good and available location that could keep the beloved school in Lake City please share it in the comments or email and we will pass it along.

Seattle Mayor, local leaders participate in Lake City ‘Find it, fix it’ walk

Mayor Ed Murray and community members at the Lake City Mini-Park before the walk. (LCL photo)

Mayor Ed Murray and community members at the Lake City Mini-Park before the walk. (LCL photo)

Local leaders came to Lake City Monday night for Mayor Ed Murray’s sixth “Find it, Fix it” community walk. Previous walks have visited other Seattle neighborhoods and crime hotspots.

Murray, along with Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean, Sen. David Frockt, and other officials and City of Seattle department representatives, toured the neighborhood with about 50 local residents. The tour highlighted troubled areas and elements of the community that are in need of improvement.

The walks, as described in a press release, allow community residents, police, and city officials to “walk together to identify physical disorder and solve it.” The goal of the walks is to help Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Department of Planning and Development, and Seattle Public Utilities to make improvements in Seattle’s neighborhoods.

As noted during the walk, city departments often rely on reports from residents about transportation problems, crime, derelict properties and other issues in a community. One speaker said that if a problem area is not continually reported by the community, it is more difficult to deal with because it has to then be noticed by a department employee. And that can take much longer.

Community members gather near the intersection of 30th Avenue NE and NE 130th Street. (LCL photo)

Community members gather near the intersection of 30th Avenue NE and NE 130th Street. (LCL photo)

Reporting a safety or crime concern is easy to do with the City of Seattle’s Find it, Fix it mobile app (the app can be downloaded by clicking here for iOS and Android.) The app allows users to easily report graffiti, potholes, illegal dumping, abandoned vehicles, and other issues. You can also use the City’s website to report problems by clicking here.

During the Monday walk, plenty of those reportable items were found, and eight large trash bags of litter were gathered by volunteers from the North Seattle Family Center and Hunger Intervention Program.

Mayor Murray watches as young volunteers gather piles of trash from a lot at NE 130th and Lake City Way. (LCL photo)

Mayor Murray watches as young volunteers gather piles of trash from a dump site on a lot at NE 130th and Lake City Way. (LCL photo)

The walk with community members —and an earlier walk with members of the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance and city leaders— gave people a chance to air concerns about the community.

When a speaker from the City stood in front of the dilapidated Aqua Dive site to talk about graffiti removal, the structure provided a strong backdrop for the way some property owners have allowed their buildings to become eyesores and contributors to behaviors that negatively impact the community. The Aqua Dive and neighboring structures are know to be popular places for drug users and others that have been kicked out of homeless housing projects in the neighborhood. At one point, one of the leading advocates for Lake City’s homeless community shouted out that the structure needs to be torn down.

The dilapadeted Aqua Dive provides a backdrop for a talk about graffiti removal. (LCL photo)

The dilapadeted Aqua Dive provides a backdrop for a talk about graffiti removal. (LCL photo)

The walk also meandered over to the old Fire Station 39 and the Lake City Community Center —both city-owned properties in the core of Lake City that debate has swirled around their future use.

The City has proposed leasing the old fire station to the Pierre Auto Centers for two years, delaying development of the property. A previous proposal was to build transitional housing for formerly homeless people on the site. That proposal generated significant opposition and some would say was a catalyst for the formation of some of Lake City’s current active community groups.

City leaders and Lake City residents gather at the old Fire Station 39. (LCL photo)

City leaders and Lake City residents gather at the old Fire Station 39. (LCL photo)

The walk ended at the Lake City Community Center, where Mayor Ed Murray thanked community members for taking the time to walk around the neighborhood. Earlier discussion with the Mayor and Lake City leaders centered around the future of the building, its lack of amenities, and spaces that are not ADA accessible. The Lake City Neighborhood Alliance earlier sent a letter to the Mayor’s office advocating for a new, full-service Lake City Community Center to support the youth, families, and seniors in the Lake City Hub Urban Village.

People gather at the Lake City Community Center during the walk. (LCL photo)

People gather at the Lake City Community Center during the walk. (LCL photo)

The walk gave community members a brief moment to point out issues in the core of Lake City, a likely more effective way than trying to explain a problem in a meeting environment. General topics such as our overall lack of sidewalks —a topic that historically dominates community meetings here— was only discussed a few times as other specific problem areas prompted residents to enter discussions with representatives from the City of Seattle Departments.

Residents speak to the Mayor. (LCL photo)

Residents speak to the Mayor. (LCL photo)

The walk was led by Seattle Police officers and roads were shut down by officers for the group of pedestrians to safely walk on the streets —something that one resident pointed out is not available to pedestrians that regularly have to walk in Lake City streets.

As city officials and residents dispersed after the evening walk, another crowd started to fill in the Lake City Mini Park. The usual suspects were out there drinking tallboys, with one man pacing back and forth yelling at passing motorists. Officials from the walk watched the scene unfold as they returned to their cars near the Mini Park.

Construction kicks off on Olympic Hills Greenway


Construction has kicked off on Lake City Greenways’ Olympic Hills Neighborhood Greenway with the installation of new speed humps on 25th Avenue NE, NE 127th Street and one block of 27th Avenue NE.

The project, largely led by community members, will try to create a safer street that gives more priority to pedestrians and bike riders. New features will attempt to enhance safety on the road. Speed humps, stop signs, bike sharrows and other safety improvement elements are part of the project.

The Olympic Hills Greenway is the first in a planned network of routes for cyclists and pedestrians in Lake City.

More about the project from the City of Seattle Department of Transportation:

Seattle is building a network of neighborhood greenways. Neighborhood greenways are safer, calmer residential streets for you, your family, neighbors and customers. On streets with low car volumes and speeds a greenway can:

- Improve safety
- Help people cross busy streets
- Discourage cut-thru traffic
- Protect the residential character of our neighborhoods
- Keep speeds low
- Get people to where they want to go like parks, schools, shops and restaurants

Neighborhood greenways are not car free zones, do not add bike lanes and there are minimal if any on-street parking impacts.

Speed humps installed in front of Olympic Hills Elementary


As part of a an effort to make the walking and biking route to Olympic Hills Elementary School safer, speed humps were installed by the Seattle Department of Transportation on NE 130th Street in recent days.

The speed humps are intended to slow traffic in the immediate vicinity of the school. The Safe Routes To School program and a grant from the Washington State Department of transportation also recently completed a segment of missing sidewalk on the route to the school along NE 130th Street. Previously students were regularly seen walking to school in the street.

Although many streets in the area of the school still lack sidewalks, the recent additions show government officials are paying attention to pedestrian safety in the neighborhood. The topic of pedestrian safety has been the dominant topic of public meetings in the Lake City area for decades.

More speed humps and other traffic calming measures are planned for a stretch of 27th Avenue Northeast, NE 127th Street, and 25th Avenue Northeast as part of the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways project to make roads more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists.