Category Archives: City Services

Seattle Preschool Program providers announced; enrollment open

King County Executive Dow Constantine and a Seattle delegation visited Boston and New Jersey to learn about their universal preschool models in 2014. Photo by Dan Nolte, courtesy of the KC Executive’s office.
On Monday, Mayor Murray announced the first 14 providers of the Seattle Preschool Program, including several in the Beacon Hill area serving the attendance areas of Dearborn Park, Maple, Beacon International and Kimball elementary schools.

Enrollment for the program is opening now. All 4-year-olds in the city (regardless of income level) are eligible to apply, as are 3-year-olds from households at 300% and below of the Federal poverty line.

For more information, see the SPP website.

What can’t you do with a library card?

Photo of the Beacon Hill Library by Jason Simpson.

(This article was submitted through The Commons here on the BHB. Thanks, Melissa!)

Ever wished you could print/fax/copy/scan right here on Beacon Hill? Well, you can! The Beacon Hill Branch of The Seattle Public Library has it all–cheaper and faster than any office supply place. Scan your documents for FREE to your USB thumb drive, print (color or B&W), copy, or fax from the checkout desk. Plus free wi-fi, computers & meeting space. Woot!

Speaking of wi-fi–you can take it with you! Check out a “wi fi hotspot” for 21 days. You can reserve one in advance. Bring internet access to your home, for free! Find out more here.

Have you checked out the Summer of Learning program? It features tons of free activities all over the city, for all ages. Bring your kid(s) to the Beacon Hill branch today, grab a booklet (and a free book to jump start the learning) and head out for fun!

Grownups can sign up for Summer Book Bingo. Print a card (or pick one up at the branch) to enter to win fabulous prizes. This isn’t for the faint of heart–filling your bingo card will be a stretch for even the heaviest reader.

If that’s not enough to keep you busy, check out free passes to many of Seattle’s most popular attractions–including the EMP, Seattle Art Museum, Wooden Boat Center and many more! You can reserve by date or by venue at

Kids eat free at Beacon Hill Playground this summer

Seattle summer food service program(This post was promoted from The Commons. Thanks, Melissa, for contributing to the BHB in The Commons!)

Seattle Parks will offer free lunches for kids aged 18 and under from noon-1 p.m., Monday through Friday, from now until August 14 at Beacon Hill Playground, 1902 13th Ave. S. Dates and locations are subject to change. Call 206-615-0303 for more information.

The free lunch program is a partnership between Seattle Parks and the Seattle Human Services Department’s Summer Food Services Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Find out more here.

Shiny and new at Fire Station 13

New vehicles at Fire Station 13. Photo courtesy of Lt. Kyle White.
New vehicles at Fire Station 13. Photo courtesy of Lt. Kyle White.

Lt. Kyle White of the Seattle Fire Department tells us that Fire Station 13, in the historic building on the corner of Beacon Ave. S. and S. Spokane St., took delivery of two new vehicles this month. They received a 2015 Pierce fire engine that went into service on June 11. It replaces a 2003 American LaFrance that has been relegated to reserve status and will be housed at a fire station in Wedgwood. Earlier in the month, the station also took possession of a 2015 Chevy Suburban that will operate as a battalion chief’s vehicle.

(Thanks, Lt. White!)

Preschool, yoga and tax prep available at El Centro de la Raza

El Centro de la Raza from the south. Photo by Wendi Dunlap/Beacon Hill Blog.
Kids, yoga fans and taxpayers are part of some of the upcoming and current activities at El Centro de la Raza, 2524 16th Ave S. Read on for more information:

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Jonna Bracken is teaching yoga classes at Skin Deep Dance studio on the second floor of El Centro on Thursday evenings, from 7:00-8:15 p.m. The class is open to all levels of practitioners and is an alignment-based class. The fee is four classes for $55 or eight classes for $100, but you can try your first class for free. Questions? Contact Jonna via email at

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The José Martí Child Development Center is currently enrolling children aged 18 months to four years old for preschool programs with a focus on dual-language education in Spanish and English and a rich multicultural program featuring age-appropriate developmental goals to prepare kids for later success in kindergarten.

Classes for kids aged 18 months through three years start on April 1. Classes for four-year-olds start on June 1.

Assistance is available to fill out applications for subsidies from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) or the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Slots are also available for private pay families. For more information or to enroll, call 206-957-4619 or email

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As mentioned on this site last month, there is a free tax preparation clinic currently operating at El Centro. In addition to tax preparation, help is available for completing the FAFSA (application for student loans for college), applying for food stamps, utility assistance, free credit reports and more.

The United Way Tax Preparation program is free for anyone making under $51,000. Bring photo ID and Social Security cards or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, along with all wage and earnings statements and any other documents needed for tax filing.

Tax prep sessions are open at El Centro on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. (English/Spanish) and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (English/Spanish/Tagalog).

City announces ‘ultra high-speed’ broadband demonstration project to include Beacon Hill

This map shows the 12 neighborhoods in the planned Gigabit Seattle demonstration project, including part of North Beacon Hill. Click to see a larger copy of the map.
This map shows the 12 neighborhoods in the planned Gigabit Seattle demonstration project, including part of North Beacon Hill. Click to see a larger copy of the map.

The City of Seattle today announced an agreement with broadband developer Gigabit Squared that plans to use the city’s excess fiber-optic capacity to provide an “ultra high-speed” fiber-to-the-home/business broadband network starting in Fall 2013 with demonstration projects in 12 Seattle neighborhoods, including portions of North Beacon Hill and other Southeast Seattle neighborhoods. An additional part of the project is the development of dedicated broadband wireless connections to multifamily housing and offices, and “next generation” mobile wireless Internet.

The City, the University of Washington, and Gigabit Squared have signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of intent that allows Gigabit Squared to begin raising the capital needed for the first phase of the project.

That’s the good news. The bad news is: only a small part of Beacon Hill is included in the demonstration project (see this map or this map), so this will only improve things for a limited number of residents. However, Gigabit Seattle asks that you sign up on their website to show your interest in having the service so they can determine where to expand next.

Here’s how the city described the plan today in a press release:

1. Fiber to the home and business: Gigabit Seattle plans to build out a fiber-to-the-home/fiber-to-the-business (FTTH/FTTB) network to more than 50,000 households and businesses in 12 demonstration neighborhoods, connected together with the excess capacity that Gigabit Seattle will lease from the City’s own fiber network. Gigabit Seattle’s technology intends to offer gigabit speeds that are up to 1,000 times faster than the typical high-speed connection.

The initial 12 neighborhoods include: Area 1: the University of Washington’s West Campus District, Area 2: South Lake Union, Area 3: First Hill/Capitol Hill/Central Area, Area 4: the University of Washington’s Metropolitan Tract in downtown Seattle, Area 5: the University of Washington’s Family Housing at Sand Point, Area 6: Northgate, Area 7: Volunteer Park Area, Area 8: Beacon Hill and SODO Light Rail Station and Areas 9-12: Mount Baker, Columbia City, Othello, and Rainier Beach.

2. Dedicated gigabit to multifamily housing and offices: To provide initial coverage beyond the 12 demonstration neighborhoods, Gigabit Seattle intends to build a dedicated gigabit broadband wireless umbrella to cover Seattle providing point-to-point radio access up to one gigabit per second. This will be achieved by placing fiber transmitters on top of 38 buildings across Seattle. These transmitters can beam fiber internet to multifamily housing and offices across Seattle, even those outside the twelve demonstration neighborhoods, as long as they are in a line of sight. Internet service would be delivered to individual units within a building through existing wiring. This wireless coverage can provide network and Internet services to customers that do not have immediate access to fiber in the city.

3. Next generation mobile wireless internet: Gigabit Seattle will provide next generation wireless cloud services in its 12 neighborhoods to provide customers with mobile access.

See more about today’s announcement at the Seattle Times, which points out that parts of the East Side already have fiber broadband, and residents of Ephrata in Grant County have “one of the world’s fastest broadband services” — for $45 per month. Some parts of Seattle already have access to this speed as well, including the South Lake Union neighborhood through CondoInternet, which charges $200 per month for their “up-to-gigabit-speed” service. Gigabit Seattle has yet to finalize the rates for their service.

According to the Gigabit Seattle website, “the more interest we have in your area, the higher priority your neighborhood will become.” They ask that all interested people sign up at their website to show interest in receiving this service to their neighborhoods.

Parks making improvements to Beacon Mountain

The slides at Beacon Mountain will be closed through December while the playground is revised and improved. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

You may have noticed the slides at Jefferson Park’s Beacon Mountain Playground have been closed. Have no fear — they are only closed so that Seattle Parks and Recreation can make the final revisions and tweaks to the new playground that opened in July. The work is being done in conjunction with the contractor and manufacturer of equipment, before the warranty expires. The work should be done by year’s end.

The work will include additions and alterations to the playground including revisions to the surfacing in the spraypark and additions to the mechanical system for spray features; plant replacement and hillside fortification to prevent erosion; revisions to hillside slides; and additions to site furnishings such as picnic tables, benches, bike racks, and trash receptacles. New interpretive panels describing solar energy production in the park will also be installed.

The slides will be closed through December.

For more information (or if you want to suggest additional improvements), contact project manager Andy Sheffer, 206-684-7041 or

Broadband improvement meeting at El Centro 9/20

Annoyed at slow Internet speeds here on Beacon Hill? Mark Thursday, September 20 at 6 p.m. on your calendar—CenturyLink is hosting a community meeting to discuss what needs to be done to have faster speed in the area.

According to representatives from UPTUN (Upping Technology for Underserved Neighbors) and from CenturyLink who spoke at last night’s North Beacon Hill Council meeting, there have been problems with Seattle’s permitting process for installing new broadband infrastructure, causing hold-ups or cancellation of several broadband upgrade projects that had been planned for 2012. (The Beacon Hill Blog posted about some of these potential projects in July.)

Those interested in finding out more are invited to the meeting on September 20 at El Centro de la Raza, 2524 16th Ave. S., Room 307 (top floor, north end of the building). The meeting will run from 6-8 p.m., and there will be cookies and coffee provided.

Spray park drainage to be fixed

Photo by Furchin in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.

We received an e-mail from Andy Scheffer of Seattle Parks and Recreation with some news about the spray park at Beacon Mountain. Here’s what he said:

The spray pad at Beacon Mtn. – Jefferson Park is temporarily closed because the water is not draining quick enough. The engineer is researching a fix and the contractor is going to make the necessary changes as soon as he is given direction (early this week). The system was tested on multiple occasions prior to the opening on July 14th. However, the issue was not readily apparent until the spray park experienced, continual, high usage.

I sincerely regret this inconvenience and can promise you that we are doing everything possible to get the system up and running again. Please don’t hesitate to e-mail or call me with additional questions or concerns.

Thank you, kindly
Andy Sheffer

Beacon Mountain spray park runs dry

Photo by Furchin in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.
Neighbors have reported some disappointment that the new water spray park at the Beacon Mountain playground in Jefferson Park is not working. We have contacted the Parks Department to ask what went wrong (so far, it seems that it may be the drains), and if there is an expected date for the water feature to return to service. Watch this space for more information as we get it.