By Ruth Bayang
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The City of Seattle is partnering with the Chinatown-International District (CID) to address a set of issues important to the neighborhood.
“I believe the community request for the partnership grew out of some frustration with the city,” said Gary Johnson, the Center City Strategy Coordinator.
“There’s a perception that the city and governments tend to do to the neighborhood, rather than for or with it,” he said.
The Public Safety Task Force — which Johnson project managed — was borne out of Donnie Chin’s murder and the aftermath. It resulted in recommendations and is now in the implementation phase.
Then came a series of meetings where delegations from the CID met with various department directors with requests for city partnership to address a set of issues.
Now, five work groups have been formed to address: updates to the International Special Review District (ISRD) guidelines, community development and stabilization, assessing the potential of transitioning city facilities out of the Charles Street Campus property to free up the space for community use, public realm improvements, and coordinating capital projects.
Johnson said the Capitol Project Coordination work group will likely have an advisory role in two big projects coming up — the City Lights transmission line project, which has a proposed pathway through the CID, and the second downtown transit tunnel, which was passed by voters in the Sound Transit 3 (ST3) plan.
This group will serve “as a forum to look for ways that projects could potentially be combined or timing could be changed to try to lessen the impact.”
The Community Stabilization work group will address concerns about the potential for displacement of low-income residents because of market rate development, commercial displacement, and price pressure on rents for nonprofits.
A community Advisory Committee co-chaired by Maiko Winkler-Chin of SCIDpda and Pradeepta Upadhyay of InterIm CDA will oversee the five work groups.
Winkler-Chin said this will benefit the neighborhood because people can have a say on what happens, and what’s important here.
“It also opens lines of communication with the City,” she said. “It helps a broad range of individuals in both City government and the community discuss issues of importance, and develop ways to make things better, and to invest in getting work done. The City uses these plans to help determine their priorities in public investment strategies.”
The Advisory Committee meets monthly in the neighborhood. Its meetings are public and are open to all.
The first citywide open house will be held on Feb. 28 — and Johnson anticipates quarterly open houses to give updates to the neighborhood about how the work is progressing.
Ruth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.