Severe cuts to the Department of Neighborhoods in the proposed City Budget would close the Beacon Hill (Greater Duwamish) Neighborhood Service Center and remove the Greater Duwamish District Coordinator, Steve Louie. The Service Center and the Coordinator provide services and help for the community, including (but not limited to):
- Community and neighborhood organization contacts
- Crime prevention and block watch materials
- Information on heating bill assistance and food banks
- Information on city and other job opportunities, including summer youth employment
- Land use and zoning information
- Application forms and assistance for the Neighborhood Matching Fund, business licenses, voter registration, and passports
Additionally, Louie’s access to the building allows the North Beacon Hill Council to use the space for council meetings even though the meetings usually need to run later than the library’s normal closing time.
If the Neighborhood Service Center is closed, neighbors on North Beacon Hill seeking equivalent city services would need to go to the Southeast Neighborhood Service Center instead, located 3.5 miles away on South Othello Street.
North Beacon Hill Council Chair Judith Edwards says, “The loss of our District Neighborhood Coordinator and Neighborhood Service Center would have a tremendous negative affect on all of us. Please contact the City Council.” You can find contact information for all Council members here. The council will vote on the new budget next Monday, November 22.
Here is the letter sent by the North Beacon Hill Council to the Seattle City Council today. Judith suggests that people use this as a starting point for their own letters to the Council.
North Beacon Hill Council
3211 Beacon Ave. S., Suite 14
Seattle, WA 98144
November 15, 2010
Dear City Council Members,
This is a final plea from all 150 members of the North Beacon Hill Council (NBHC) and its Board of Directors. We ask that you leave the Beacon Hill Neighborhood Service Center open to the public which it serves in our diverse, but active, neighborhood, and retain the services of our Neighborhood Coordinator.
If the Neighborhood Service Center no longer exists in the Beacon Hill Library, an average of 3-5 citizens per day will have no one to turn to with questions regarding the City and other neighborhood problems. Many of these citizens speak English as a second language, use bus transportation or walk, and find the Service Center to be very accessible when they come into the Library for other services, such as classes, computer use, etc. Since diversity and reaching out to under-represented populations is a high priority for the City, closure of this Neighborhood Service Center will be a great injustice to one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city, and will diminish greatly the City’s outreach to under-represented populations.
Our District Coordinators have helped many members of the North Beacon Hill Council to apply for and receive many Small Sparks and Neighborhood Matching Fund grants. Without this guidance, I suspect that the applications for these grants will diminish in number. Stairwells have been cleaned of drugs and prostitution; cross walks have been made safe; parks have been restored—all thanks to the guidance of our Neighborhood Coordinators.
The North Beacon Hill Council will be without a meeting place if the Neighborhood Service Center is closed. As many as fifty (50) concerned citizens and citizen activists regularly attend these meetings. We are able to use the Beacon Hill Library Community Room for meetings which end at 9:00PM only because our Neighborhood District Coordinator is housed in the Library and has authorization to lock up after hours.
We, the Board and members of the North Beacon Hill Council, ask that you give strong consideration to keeping the Neighborhood Service Center and Neighborhood Coordinator in the Beacon Hill Library, where a very strong community need is now being met.
Judith Edwards, Chair – North Beacon Hill Council