By Sue Misao
Northwest Asian Weekly
The job of preserving the look and feel of Chinatown falls to the International Special Review District.
The International District (I.D.) held elections for three of its seven board members on Nov. 19.
Joann Ware, already a current ISRD board member, won Position #1, a spot reserved for an I.D. business owner, property owner, or employee. Ware works for Interim DCA on community-based design projects. According to an ISRD press release, she has a “deep commitment to the neighborhood” and a “strong interest in the built environment.” She plans to “continue using her architectural knowledge to serve the community and the board.”
Ben Grace, who works for the Chinatown International District Business Improvement Area (CIDBIA), won as the only applicant for Position #2, a spot reserved for a resident, tenant, or community participant. Grace is actively involved with the I.D. through his work on the Chinatown Historical Alley Project and is a frequent contributor to community events through the neighborhood. Earlier this year, he led the project to translate street signs in Chinatown and Japantown.
The only candidate to seek Position #4, a spot reserved for a resident, tenant, or community participant, was won by Carol Leong. Leong is part of the third generation of her family to live, work, or volunteer in the Chinatown International District. She’s participated in the Seattle Chinese Athletic Association and the Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill Team. For the past 15 years, she’s been the volunteer coordinator of Sifu David. F. Leong’s NW Kung Fu and Fitness, participated in the Chinatown parade, and served as a scholarship coordinator and youth mentor.
Leong is also involved with the neighborhood block watch, and participates in numerous other community events.
Major issues on tap for the board, in addition to the Hing Hay Park expansion, include the rehabilitation of the Publix Hotel on Fifth Avenue and the development of the old Aristocrats building on Fourth and Main, according to Rebecca Frestedt, board coordinator for Columbia City Review Committee and International Special Review District.
The ISRD serves to “preserve the I.D.’s unique Asian character and to encourage rehabilitation of areas for housing and pedestrian-oriented businesses.” Meetings are open to the public on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month (except December) at the Bush Asia Center, 409 Maynard Ave. S., Seattle. For more information, call 206-684-0464. (end)