Pete Spalding, community activist, was one of the primary organizers of this year's Delridge Day on Aug 9. The event is intended to show the neighborhood in a positive light and get people aware of the many services and organizations available to them.
SLIDESHOW: A scaled down Delridge Day focuses on fun and feedback
Police Chief O'Toole pays a visit and neighbors share their thoughts on the area
"Delridge Day 2014 almost didn't happen," said one of the organizers Pete Spalding. The annual one day celebration in the past was coordinated by the North Delridge Neighborhood Council but this year they declined. So the task was taken on by four primary organizers including Spalding, Chas Redmond, Michael Taylor Judd and Dorsal Plants.
The event this year had no retail businesses, meaning no companies selling products, no food trucks or other vendors. "We think there are more activities to help build community. The Dept. of Neighborhoods and Department of Planning and Development, they are here to get community input on the update of our neighborhood plan," said Spalding. To that end they set up blackboards and asked people for their thoughts on what they already liked about the area... "I Love" had entries like "My neighbors, Our parks and local trails, Youngstown DNDA, our police station, and Longfellow Creek. They were also asked what they think is needed under "We Need" and got responses like, "Infrastructure, sidewalks and safe crosswalks, fix streets and alleys, more activities for all youth, better drainage and another park."
Spalding, long time Pigeon Point resident and community activist said Delridge will change notably in the next ten years. "There's a whole process with SDOT, DPD and DON right now to re-vision Delridge Way," said Spalding. "We're not talking about just the piece of concrete that runs between the two ridges. Right now one of our major problems is drainage in the Brandon Node area (a small commercially zoned area around the intersection of Delridge Way SW and SW Brandon Street. It comprises approximately two and a half blocks on either side of Delridge Way SW). When you drive down Delridge Way you are going to see more of a boulevard that is more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. It's not going to be just a concrete path to get from White Center to the bridge anymore," Spalding explained. "I'm hopeful that you'll see the turning lane gone with trees and plantings down the middle. More neighborhood development." He acknowledges that higher density is coming to Delridge too. "I think we're going to see some of the older housing stock taken down and more dense housing put up." He noted that commercial development, meaning retail stores won't build in the area due to lack of density. Spalding does not think this is likely to change anytime soon.
The Seattle Police Dept. held its Precinct Picnic during the event and it was attended by new SPD Chief Kathleen O'Toole. Most recently a resident of Boston, she said she was impressed by the close knit nature of the neighborhoods in Seattle. "That's what community really means," she said.
Also on hand for the police were the mounted patrol officers who brought two horses Justice and Dozer to visit with people attending, the SWAT vehicle and officers, the Seattle Police Bomb Squad showing off their radio controlled robot, and Dennis the bomb sniffing dog.
The event featured a kids activity zone sponsored by Trader Joes Market and the usual potato sack races, three legged races and more were part of the fun.
The music stage was busy all day featuring Delridge area bands such as the Bill Wolford four piece band and The Ellis Brothers.
In previous years a major skateboard competition had been held but this year two clinics were put on to introduce and train girls to "Skate Like a Girl."
The event was sponsored by the PNTA (Pacific Northwest Theater Associates), Sound Physical Therapy, and Highline Community Health.
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