This is just an informal update regarding the most recent ENA meeting. Formal minutes will be sent to Edgemoor residents and property owners via the newsletter prior to the January meeting. If you do not currently receive the newsletter but would like to, please contact Sandie Koplowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The December meeting was very full and very informative.
Steve Wilson, with the Center for Local Self Reliance (they have the agreement with the city to manage the Caretaker’s House in Fairhaven Park), explained their mission and brought us up to date on their progress. There are actually two divisions of the organization – one deals with the gardens and the other with the house. As you may have noticed in driving by, the gardens are developing nicely. Food raised is donated to the food bank, used for classes, or used by the gardeners themselves. My understanding is that garden space is available to the public.
Three of the local Lions Clubs will be renovating the yard structures along the back of the property. There are no plans to completely enclose the area; there is a plan to make it more accessible to the Interurban trail.
Steve is most involved with the renovation of the house. While a caretaker actually lived there until sometime in the 1980’s, by the time the Center for Local Self Reliance took over responsibility for it in 2008, it was on the verge of being destroyed or moved. They felt it should be maintained as a part of the south side’s history and renewed as a gathering place. They depend on grants and donations to buy materials, but all labor is volunteer. As you have probably noticed in driving by, the house is looking great, with a new roof and fresh paint job. The next project is to install ADA access from the back. Then comes the renovation of the interior, with a new kitchen, office, bathroom and meeting/gathering space for groups. It is an ambitious project, and Steve estimates the need for about $15,000 in additional funds to complete it.
We will be discussing a donation to the project at our January meeting, so if you have thoughts about it, please attend. The area is part of Fairhaven Park and is open to the public, so feel free to walk over and check it out. They also accept individual, tax deductible donations, which can be general or earmarked. For more information, go to www.caretakershouse.com.
Also on the agenda was the change to the charter of MNAC (Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Committee). It has been decided to change their role to a more advisory rather than analytical one regarding proposed developments throughout the city. They will still be a conduit for feedback on development(s) from the neighborhoods.
John Erickson reported on conversations with Chris Como of the city regarding traffic issues. The top transportation project of the city for related to Edgemoor is installation of a sidewalk on the west side of Chuckanut Dr between Hawthorn and Willow. Cost would be about $1 million, but there are no plans to construct it due to lack of funds. There was also discussion of a speed limit change on Chuckanut Drive from 35 mph to 25 mph between the current 25 mph zone at the S curves and the 25 mph zone nearer the school.
It was also confirmed that Fieldston is classified as an arterial, so speed bumps, even if funded by an LID, are not allowed there. Discussion raised the question of whether the classification could be changed.
Discussion regarding the formation of the metropolitan park district resulted in confirmation of support from the ENA. Since the meeting, filing dates for the commissioner positions have been set for December 12 – 14, with the election to be held February 12, 2013.
A request has come to the ENA to support the establishment of a train horn quiet zone within the city limits by asking the city to initially fund a complete diagnostic analysis of the Bellingham rail corridor. During discussion, one of the issues raised as a potential negative to such a request was the concern that such an action by the city would mitigate the responsibility of developers of the Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT). However, such a study is being requested as part of the scoping process for the terminal, and the ENA will submit that proposal, as others already have. In addition, whether the GPT happens or not, Bellingham has a train noise problem already, and the reality is that train traffic will undoubtedly increase (witness BP’s plan to ship in oil from the midwest). Ideally, the study will be done as part of GPT’s environmental impact study, but if it isn’t, it still needs to be done. Members in attendance voted to support the proposed request and submit a request to those drafting it that SSA be required to do such a study as part of the scoping process. However, there has been strong pushback since the meeting from the larger community due to the concern over its impact on SSA’s responsibilities as mentioned above. As a result, we have decided to wait for further developments before signing the proposal as presented.
Increased airport noise was discussed briefly, and the decision was made to not have a presentation at a meeting in the near future.
The sewage treatment plant addition is coming along and the contractors are very good about informing the neighbors regarding progress and upcoming disruptions to peace and quiet. The public is invited to visit the site on alternate Friday mornings for updates and coffee.
Sandie was contacted with a request that the neighborhood consider a cleanup work party along the railroad tracks to remove garbage remaining when homeless people left for the winter. The goal is to get it cleaned up to discourage their return as the weather gets warmer. John Erickson has experience with such projects, since he worked with the parks department to clean up homes camps in the Chuckanut Community Forest (100 Acre Wood, Chuckanut Ridge), and he is following up to see if the CCC is interested in being involved. Information will be posted on Nextdoor Edgemoor.
Our speaker at the January meeting will be Shannon Wright with Communitywise Bellingham Outreach. They are a “neutral organization working to provide independent analysis to inform the decision making process on the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal”. She also happens to be an Edgemoor neighborhood resident. For addtional information about the organization, visit www.communitywisebellingham.org.
The next Edgemoor Neighborhood meeting will be held the first Thursday of January (1/3/2013) in the library at Fairhaven Middle School.