In the Fall of 2005, a concerned group of residents and business owners in East Ballard came together to form the 14th Avenue NW Steering Committee to discuss the idea of doing an Action Plan and Vision for 14th Avenue NW between Ballard High School and the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Community support was strong so the Steering Committee prepared an application for a Small and Simple Grant in the amount of $15,000 from the Department of Neighborhoods. A substantial number of residents and businesses pledged their support in the form of volunteer time and in-kind contributions to meet the required matching funds for the grant. This effort resulted in a Vision Plan report put together by the community with the guidance of Carlson Architects. A copy of this report can be obtained from the www.14avenw.org website.
While working in the Visioning Plan, the 14th Ave NW Visioning Project was approached by a former committee member of the East Ballard Community Association and the Ballard District Council to represent EBCA at the Ballard District Council. Through this involvement, the 14VP group began broadening their scope for community building and involvement.
In 2005, EBCA joined the city’s Adopt A Street Program and adopted 14th Ave NW from NW 65th down to the ship canal. We have been hosting 2 cleanups a year since then and are starting to get more a more neighbors to help out. We had over 30 volunteers during our December cleanup event. EBCA plans to adopt 8th Ave NW in the near future.
In 2005, the 14VP organized an August Night Out event where we closed down 2 blocks on 14th Ave NW and a block on 11th Ave NW and invited neighbors to come together for a potluck. We designed a passport that encouraged neighbors to visit each block party, receive a stamp on their passport and then be eligible for a prize drawing at the end of the evening. The Ballard neighborhood businesses have donated prizes every year for this event. In 2008, EBCA became the official sponsor for this event and the 14VP became a project of EBCA. We had over 75 passports entered into the drawing this year, many more businesses provided items for the raffle and we even had live entertainment from a neighborhood Country music celebrity.
In 2005 and again in 2006, the 14VP participated in the Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods Initiative (SUNI). A primary goal of SUNI is to have citizens monitor and measure trends in their communities and then act on what they find. ComNET is the tool used to help achieve this goal. ComNET is a data-collection system that allows specific neighborhood conditions to be correlated to a city agency or organization, and it allows the ability to easily produce reports for analysis in order to help citizens prioritize the findings for action. The results from the 2 surveys are here.
In 2007 we worked with Sustainable Ballard and the ReStore to design and build a prototype for a community kiosk. It’s currently on NW 60th and 11 Ave NW. We hope to have more community kiosks like Abby spring up around East Ballard in the future.
In 2008, Avalon Bay Communities purchased the Sunset Bowl property at 14th Ave NW and Market St. The East Ballard Community Association has been working with Avalon Bay to guide design for the 6 story apartment complex planned for this site and have made recommendations for right away improvements.
In 2007-2009 the 14VP made great strides in improving pedestrian safety using funds received from Dept of Neighborhood Street Fund, SDOT Cumulative Reserve Funds and Bridging the Gap funds to design and install natural irrigation curb extensions, a planted median, and a raised crosswalk at NW 58th and 14th. Our community came together in Dec 2008 to dedicate the new intersection and to remember a member of our community, Agnes Meserole, who was killed at this intersection a year ago.
In 2009, we continued our bimonthly community events with “Metro and Money” in Februrary, Adopt A Street Cleanup in April & October, an incredibly successful walking tour in June, August Night Out, and “Planting Partnerships on 14th Ave NW” Kickoff event in December. The big news for 2009 was applying for and receiving a $15,000 Department of Neighborhoods Small and Simple grant to partner with neighbors, local businesses and schools to install planters along the medians of 14th Ave NW.
In 2010, we held a big event in February on “Parks and Planters” to get community input on the 14th Ave NW Park Boulevard design and to strum up participation in the planter project. April and May were extremely busy with preparation and installation of the planters in the medians along 14th Ave NW which resulted in a big planting event in May. In June, the EBCA teamed up with Groundswell NW and Sustainable Ballard for the second annual Edible Garden Tour which took place in East Ballard this year. June also brought a collaboration between the EBCA and artists Anne Bumgartner and Pam Gray for “Art on the Fence”, a recycled art installation along the fence surrounding the former Sunset Bowl. In October, the EBCA brought in Cass Turnbull for a very informative class on pruning with a hands-on class the next day during our October Adopt A Street Cleanup event. This was also the year the 14th Ave NW Park Boulevard project applied for Seattle Parks and Green Spaces Levy funding and was recommended by the Parks Levy Oversight committee to receive $1.5 million toward building our community Park!
In 2011, the EBCA focused on the 14th Ave NW Park, working with the Parks Dept and Mithun to design the first 2 blocks of the full mile linear park vision. During the Winter, the EBCA partnered with Susan Obzuko and her art students at St. Alphonsus school to create and decorate colorful fish made from recycled window shades. In April neighbors and students gathered to place these decorative fish in the planters along the medians of 14th Ave NW. This year we also started to get involved with Seattle Neighborhoods Prepare and worked with the NW 61st block through a Seattle Dept of Neighborhoods grant to learn how to get a neighborhood prepared for a disaster. Our yearly August Night Out event was a blast. We had a few different blocks participate with a passport you could get stamped at each location to be entered into a raffle for prizes from local businesses. The party at 14th and NW 61st even had a bouncy house. Adopt A Street Cleanups in April and October had a great turnout as well, focusing on maintenance of the planters and the median at NW 58th.