The Laurelhurst Letter

December/January 2004

Community input guides project design Burglars take advantage of unlocked doors, windows
LCC sends landlords letter Move to new building begins
In Memoriam Nominees sought for club’s eighth annual Good Neighbor Awards
Hospital CEO to step down After-school care available
Grade school tours begin Villa to buy school campus
Talaris final EIS available Coffee with Bob Ferguson

Community input guides project design

There’s no question that Laurelhurst residents love their park.  In just under a week, the Seattle Parks Department received 170 responses to the Laurelhurst Community Center Expansion Questionnaire included in last month’s newsletter—a phenomenal return!  Sixty-three of the 170 were submitted via the LCC web site, where we posted a self-tabulating on-line version of the survey.

The results of the survey indicated an overwhelming preference for expanding and upgrading the existing community center, rather than building a new, detached facility somewhere close by, even if the latter plan would generate more space.  A similar majority opted for keeping the existing shared gym at the school rather than building a new gym at the community center.

The responses also indicated broad support for facilities such as a multipurpose room, arts and crafts/activities rooms, a lounge and/or reception area, expanded office space,  and restrooms on the main floor.  Considered less important were showers, a family changing room, a fitness room, and a game room.

Respondents also weighed in on issues such as view preservation, tree preservation, parking, access for the disabled, and even more philosophical questions such as “What is the purpose of a community center?” All comments were recorded and will be used in creating a consensus design for the new facility.

At a public meeting Dec. 9, architects presented two schematic proposals for the project.  Both involved two-story 4,600-square-foot additions to the back of the building on the little-used slope between the community center and the tennis courts.

The proposals were intended to show only the general massing of the new structure, not the actual design details. The main difference between the two was in the positioning of the facility’s large multipurpose room.  In the one proposal, Option A, the plan incorporated half of the existing multipurpose room into a new 2,769-square-foot room aligned on an east-west (front-to-back) axis.  The other half of the existing multipurpose room would become a lobby.

In the other proposal, Option B, a new 2,500-square-foot multipurpose room would occupy the whole main floor of the addition and be aligned on a north-south (side-to-side) axis.  The existing multipurpose room would become a new kitchen, offices, lobby, and “fireplace room.”

Both proposals called for two activity rooms and two outside-access bathrooms on the lower floor.  The main bathrooms were on the main floor in Option A and on the lower floor in Option B.

Among those attending the Dec. 9 meeting, a stong consensus was expressed for “quality over quantity.”  Many said they’d rather see better design and more expensive materials than simply lots of space.  Elements of both options were admired, but a majority thought that the main bathrooms should be on the main floor.

Many also wanted to see a deck added at the back to take advantage of the view and link the building to the outdoors, and concerns were expressed over the size of the parking loop, which will have to be virtually doubled to accommodate fire engines.

A number of people lobbied to have the project include renovations to the gym at Laurelhurst School; however, staff explained that the language of the funding levy precludes money being spent off site.®

LCC sends landlords letter

After receiving numerous complaints from frustrated neighbors, the LCC has written a polite letter to absentee landlords, asking them to please ensure that tenants properly maintain their residences.

“Neighbors take great pride in their homes and in the Laurelhurst neighborhood.  It is upsetting when homes are neglected,” the letter stated.

The trustees offered to do what they can to help landlords maintain their properties “in a manner consistent with surrounding properties.”®

Coffee with Bob Ferguson

King County Councilmember Bob Ferguson, a Maple Leaf resident, regularly meets with constituents one on one over a cup of coffee at one of the great north Seattle coffee shops to discuss issues important to you.

If you would like to schedule a thirty-minute constituent coffee, please contact his office at 296-1002 or®

Burglars take advantage of unlocked doors, windows

Laurelhurst has experienced a rash of burglaries over the past several months.  In many cases, entry has been gained through an unlocked door or window. 

The burglaries have occurred both during the day and at night.  Besides cash, jewelry, electronic equipment, and other easily disposed-of valuables, the burglars have taken documents that could be used to establish a false identity and house and car keys.  In one case, the thieves returned later to steal the family car.

On the bright side, alert neighbors apparently foiled at least one burglary attempt by calling 911 after observing suspicious activity.  Police encourage neighbors to call whenever they see something out of the ordinary happening on their street.

The police also remind residents to lock their houses, even if leaving for only a few minutes or when working in the back yard with no one else at home.®

In Memoriam

Former LCC trustee and longtime Laurelhurst resident Carolyn Corson died at home Nov. 3, her husband of 51 years, Harry, at her side.

Carolyn was well known for her activism on behalf of various social and political causes and for her fierce advocacy on behalf of Laurelhurst.  She served for many years on the LCC transportation committee, attending countless meetings of the Trans-Lake Washington Project and distilling mountains of technical information into an easily understood summary of what the community really needed to know.

“Her poise, grace, and sense of humor made her an asset to the Laurelhurst Community Club Board of Trustees and to every project and committee she worked on,” said president Jeannie Hale.

A true friend to the neighborhood even in death, Carolyn requested that donations be made to the Laurelhurst Community Club in lieu of flowers.  To date, that request has raised more than $2,000 to benefit the community.®

Move to new building begins

The Center for Urban Horticulture’s long-awaited move into the new Merrill Hall was scheduled to begin Dec. 20.   The trailers behind the greenhouse will leave the second week in January.  Rededication activities will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 19, beginning at noon.  There will also be a public open house for tours on Saturday, Jan. 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  For more information contact Sue Nicol or Fred Hoyt at 543-8616.®

Nominees sought for club’s eighth annual Good Neighbor Awards

Can we help you thank your good neighbor?  The LCC is hosting its eighth annual Neighbor Appreciation Day event on Saturday, Feb. 12.

Each year the club solicits nominations for a Good Neighbor Award.  Award recipients are those among us who go out of their way to help others.  They are the neighbors who are always available to lend a helping hand, they watch children whose parents are sick, they invite you in when you’re locked out and can’t find the keys, they bring meals in times of need, they help you move, they share expertise, or maybe they’re just always there for you and your family.

Laurelhurst if full of wonderful neighbors.  Let's recognize these people who make our neighborhood so special.   Please send your nominations to Coco Sherman, 4113 55th Ave. N.E., Seattle, WA  98105 or email her at  Nomination deadline is Friday, Feb. 4.  Questions?  Email Coco or call her at 525-9850.®

Hospital CEO to step down

Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center president and CEO Treuman Katz announced in November that he will retire on Sept. 30, 2005, after serving 25 years in that position.

In a letter to LCC president Jeannie Hale, Katz said, “I value the relationships we have built as neighbors.  Your insights and participation in facility planning have been invaluable in our efforts … to provide the best quality care possible for children and be a good neighbor as well.”

The trustees wish Katz well in his retirement.  They look forward to establishing a similarly cordial relationship with his successor.®

After-school care available

LASER (Laurelhurst After School Enrichment Rooms) has limited afternoon openings from 3:20 to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday.  We are located on the campus of Laurelhurst Elementary School at 4530 46th Ave. N.E.  Busing for your child is usually available within the same cluster. Call Stephen or Jill at 525-9160 for more information.®

Grade school tours begin

Join us at Laurelhurst Elementary School for Open House Tours.  Come see how kids “Learn to Love to Learn” at Laurelhurst Elementary.

Tours will be held on Wednesdays, Jan. 12, 19, and 26 and Feb. 2 and 9, from 9 to 11 a.m.  No reservations necessary, just come!

For more information call our school office at 206/252-5400 or visit our website at®

Talaris final EIS available

A final environmental impact statement for redevelopment of the 18-acre Talaris Research Institute at 4000 N.E. 41st St. was issued Dec. 16 by the Seattle Department of Planning and Development. 

A limited number of copies will be distributed at the DPD Public Resource Center, 700 5th Ave., Suite 2000, Seattle, WA 98104.  They are free, but $7.15 will be charged for mailing.  Call 684-8467 for more information.

Copies also are available for on-site review at the North East, University, and Central branches of the Seattle Public Library.®

Villa to buy school campus

Villa Academy announced last month that it has reached an agreement to purchase the school’s buildings and campus from its longtime owners, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart.

The sale involves only that portion of the property on which the school is located.  The Missionary Sisters will continue to own the wooded area east of the school, which stretches all the way to the lakeshore.

The sale is great news for the community, as well as for the school.

“By moving from renters to owners, we secure the future of this property,” Head of School Polly Skinner said in a courtesy letter to neighbors.  “It will allow us to enhance the learning spaces within our current walls as well as improve our entrances and campus driveway to help alleviate the queue of vehicles on our neighboring streets.”

Skinner also told neighbors that the Missionary Sisters have no plans at the moment to develop their remaining property.®



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