Fund your ideas for neighborhood improvements

From now until Feb. 27th, you can submit an application with the city to request funding for small-scale (up to $90K per project) street or parks improvements. Some examples of funded projects in Ballard over the last couple years include traffic circles, sidewalk repair and speed bumps. One of the largest projects is soon to get underway: sidewalk upgrades and repair along Ballard Ave. Construction will begin on Monday, February 9 — resulting in some pedestrian detours and parking restrictions in Old Ballard — and is expected to last 4-5 weeks. More information on the project here.

New restaurant, retail moving into Old Ballard

Some big news in Old Ballard. Two local businessmen have purchased the historic buildings at 5305, 5307 and 5313 Ballard Ave. with plans to start a French restaurant, reports the Seattle PI. James Weimann, who has owned six restaurants in town, and Deming Maclise, who launched Caffe Fiore, purchased the buildings last month for $3.63 million.

Obermaier Machine Works has occupied this building for 50 years but closed late last month. The French restaurant will go in here.

Just to the north, Seattle Custom Cabinets has operated out of this building for 25 years, and they’re looking to relocate, reports the PI. High end retail shops are planned for here. As is required by the Ballard Avenue Association, the new owners plan to keep the exteriors of the buildings largely the same. (Thanks DJ and Loree for the tip! Photos from Google Street View.)

Noise complaint filed from new senior center

That didn’t take long. A resident at the brand new Landmark Senior Center along Leary and Ballard Avenues has filed a noise complaint with the city.

“Now she wants to switch rooms, which is going to be a problem,” the facility’s executive director told the Ballard News Tribune. Of course, Ballard Ave. can get a little loud, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. The bar manager at Hattie’s Hat, just across from the Landmark, says that’s par for the course along Ballard Ave. “I’m hoping they aren’t the golf-course retirees,” Aimee Shepard said. “I’m hoping they’re more the Manhattan martini-type people.” Somehow, we doubt that’s the case. By the way, the Landmark’s website describes it as “vibrant urban living with the character of a small town.” Stay tuned for this debate to heat up as more residents move into the 146-unit facility.

Debate rages over new Olympic sign

Remember a few months ago, somebody ripped off the arrow on the vintage sign in front of the Olympic Athletic Club in Old Ballard?

Mark Durall, general manager at Olympic, wants to restore what’s left of the sign with the Olympic Athletic Club logo. But some members of the Ballard Avenue Landmark District Board balked at the idea, because the new sign looks “completely different” than the old sign, reports the Ballard News-Tribune. Durall was asked to come back with a new proposal.

Meanwhile, the manager of King’s Hardware retroactively asked for permission for the PBR mural painted on the side of the building last month. The board unanimously denied his request, and they want him to remove it. As the News-Tribune says, the board rules “with an iron fist” when businesses along Ballard Ave. request changes in their appearance.