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Message from Mayor McGinn: Neighborhoods update in the State of the City Address

Mayor McGinn spoke about the importance of great neighborhoods: “places where people can live safely, work with dignity, raise a family.”  The Mayor reviewed his four-part strategy for building great communities focused on neighborhood plan implementation, building social infrastructure, making the little neighborhood improvements that add up to larger objectives, and ensuring every neighborhood is given equal voice .  Below is an excerpt from the Mayor’s remarks.

Let me offer a few thoughts about how we build great communities

First – it’s not about neighborhood planning anymore – it’s about neighborhood implementing. For the most part, the original plans are pretty good. What we need to do is get folks from all the relevant departments to sit down with people from the neighborhood, including those traditionally not included, and pick the most important actions to implement first.

Second, it’s not just about our physical infrastructure in our neighborhoods, it’s about our social infrastructure. Public safety, human services, job training, arts classes are as important as sidewalks, parks, and streets to knitting a neighborhood together.

Third, little things add up. Crosswalks, sidewalks, greenways, neighborhood parks add up to big differences in health, quality of life and our environment. They deserve to be priorities.

Fourth, while everyone is passionate about our city (and thank goodness for that) we need to ensure that those with more money and power can’t put their thumb on the scales to get their priorities first. We must have a relentless focus on the common good, in which every resident and every neighborhood is given an equal voice.

This is what has informed our grants to 19 neighborhood business districts. Our interdepartmental teams working in Lake City, Chinatown ID, Pioneer Square, and the U-District. Our station area planning in Othello, Beacon HIll, Columbia City, Mt Baker, Roosevelt Capitol Hill, and the West Seattle Triangle. Neighborhood planning in Rainier Beach, Haller Lake, Bitter Lake, and Broadview.

It informs our Center City Initiative. We brought together advocates for the homeless, retailers, businesses, and City departments to work together address longstanding street disorder issues that impact the health of our urban core neighborhoods. Never before have they been around the same table to discuss these issues. We have agreed that everyone shares in the responsibility in finding solutions to building healthy downtown neighborhoods. Many of them are here today, and I thank you.

These principles inform the capital investments started in this administration. The Seawall is the biggest, but after that comes South Park Bridge, the Rainier Beach Community Center, Linden Avenue complete street in Bitter Lake, the historic buildings in Magnuson Park and tens of millions of dollars in maintaining community buildings as well as basic street repairs.

Next year we’ll renew the parks levy and it is my fondest hope we will restore community center hours citywide, just as we have restored library hours.