Wednesday night’s Ballard District Council meeting covered several development issues in our neighborhood, including plans to redevelop St. Luke’s Episcopal church and proposals for Neighborhood Park Street Funds and Neighborhood Street Funds.
Plans are in the works to completely redevelop the 1.5 acres of property owned by St. Luke’s Episcopal church on 22nd Ave NW, just across from the Ballard Commons Park. St. Luke’s vicar RC Laird explained that the church hopes to make the space more usable for the greater Ballard community, including plans to create affordable housing and a civic space that would be open for the public to use. They plan to demolish the nine buildings that currently stand on the property, which Laird explained will be replaced by structures that can serve as Ballard’s “living room.” “The vision is to create a place on 22nd Avenue that can serve both as our community gathering space for our worshiping community, but can also be a civic space for Ballard.” Laird described that they’d like to have a space for music events, author readings, and community banquets at a reasonable cost for the public to rent.
The church is two months into the feasibility study, in which they’ve invited community leaders and business owners to explore the possibilities of development options. Along with wanting to build a civic space, the church hopes to develop affordable housing for families in need in the neighborhood. While the plans are still vague and in the very early stages, Laird says they want as much community involvement as possible as they move forward with plans. “We commit to being good neighbors,” Laird explained. “We think we can do that best by approaching the neighborhood up front and being transparent in our redevelopment process.”
To keep up-to-date on the process and plans, visit the St. Luke Project website.
Ballard to Downtown Transit Study
There will be an open house later this month for residents to review the recommendations for new transit options between Ballard and Downtown. The Seattle Department of Transportation, in partnership with Sound Transit, will host the meeting that will show the range of options they’ve developed, after which they’ll ask for community feedback. The next meeting is June 27 at the Ballard High School at 5 p.m. To learn more about the transit study, click here.
Neighborhood Park Street Fund
The Ballard District Council looked at several Neighborhood Park Street Funds proposals, most of which include creating safer crossings at busy streets. The City of Seattle provides $1.25 million citywide to fund small scale improvements to Seattle streets and parks annually, and each of Seattle’s neighborhoods are provided roughly $90,000 to that end. The likely proposals to move forward include the following:
1. Kirke Park parking strip: This project includes building a parking strip on 9th Ave NW, which the applicants say will help reduce traffic speeds for the heavily used park. The original proposal included plans for a rain garden in the parking strip, but now the recommendation is for the planting strip only. The proponents say it will not restrict parking, but will help slow drivers down, which is important as it is a popular children’s park in the area. The project is estimated to cost $71,000.
2. Pedestrian crossing improvement on 36th Ave NW at NW 62nd St.: The applicants say the crosswalk is important due to poor visibility at the intersection. The project is estimated at $90,000.
Two other proposals included pedestrian crossings at NW Market St. and 11th Ave NW, and at Holman Road and 13th Ave NW. The recommendations from SDOT differed greatly from the applicants’ visions, so the projects are unlikely to move forward.
Neighborhood Street Fund
The council also heard proposals for three Neighborhood Street Funds, which is funded by the 2006 Bridging the Gap Levy from the city. This round is the last of three $4.5 million funding cycles, and the following proposals are potentials for funding:
1. Sidewalk installation and street widening on 13th Ave NW from Holman Road to NW 100th St. Estimated cost: $2.2 million.
2. Pedestrian and traffic safety improvements at the intersection of 3rd Ave NW and NW 56th St. This project includes installing crosswalks at the intersection, which is near Woodlands Park Elementary. The project plans also include eliminating NW 55th Place, which would create a larger green space at the corner of 3rd Ave NW and NW 55th St. Estimated cost: $300,o00.
3. Sunset Hill Gateway project. This project would improve safety near the intersections of NW 62nd St. and 36th Ave NW and at Seaview Ave and 38th Ave NW. Estimated cost: $120,000.
For more information about the Ballard District Council, click here. The next meeting will be July 10.