What Have We Been Up to?

Mid Year Update On Our Work In Lake City

As July is fast upon us (cannot believe it!) we thought we would take a moment to share some of the work that Build Lake City Together (BLCT) has done and information about our ongoing efforts. Our primary goals are around convening community and information sharing so that people can advocate for what is important to them.

Ongoing Efforts:

  • Starting in March of 2020 we have continued to deliver to 50 families across the district through the Food is Love Program each week (Huge thank you to the 30 volunteers who have helped in that effort)
  • Our Community Clean Up efforts are going strong with three events under our belt and over 100 volunteers
  • We maintain the Enjoylakecity.org website (always looking for volunteers to help with content and keeping the site vital)
  • We hold monthly (currently virtual) community meetings to share information
    • Some recent topics have included the importance of centering Black, Indigenous, and People of Color for access to the COVID 19 vaccines and the American Rescue Plan funding for neighborhood revitalization efforts
  • Activation of public space and advocating for more space for people to gather and build relationships
  • Increasing relationships with property owners and developers

Business Support Efforts:

  • With your support we raised over $30K for the businesses and employees lost in the arson fire in December of 2020
  • We helped several small businesses apply for grants and funding to support them during the pandemic
  • Promotion, technical assistance, City connections, and thousands of dollars in direct assistance to small businesses
  • Taking elected officials, city staff, and political candidates on walking tours of our central business district to hear from our local businesses
  • Focus on  “Community Wealth Building” and exploring the acquisition of commercial property to increase opportunities and help prevent displacement
  • Help with graffiti and vandalism on businesses
  • We maintain a part time small business liaison to support our immigrant end refugee owned businesses
  • Launched the BLCT Business Association and the North Seattle Marketplace (online)
  • Planning for a Crime Prevention through Environmental Design seminar in August to help advocate for better lighting along the business district corridor

Community Support for Projects:

  • Honorary Street Naming of Hayashi Avenue
  • Advocating for more behavioral health services in the neighborhood
  • Getting streetlights back on 33rd
  • Reinvigorating attention to the 33rd Park with elected officials and city staff
  • New curb/crosswalk at 127th and 30th across from LIHI
  • Free Tax Support in partnership with United Way of King County
  • Youth programming support through the North Seattle Family Resource Center and the Lake City Young Leaders program
  • Vaccine Pop Up Events

Our BLCT Store Front:

  • We have a full-time employee on the ground in the neighborhood connecting with residents, businesses, organizations, and city staff
  • The location has served as a donation drop off for diapers, books, and other materials to support families in need
  • A place for partners to store items including local businesses, North Helpline Food Bank, the Lake City Farmers Market & Nancy Pew, and the North Seattle Family Resource Center
  • Our business incubator – the Refugee Artisan Initiative who leased their space from us at no charge

Arts and Culture:

  • We have been privileged to work with the Lake City Mural Project to fund many of the murals that have been created in the neighborhood
  • Looking forward to the return of our “Concerts in the Park” – keep an eye out for 4 events this summer!
  • Our Market Street Events just kicked off and we will have three more this summer (July 18th, August 15th, and September 18th (Including a Lake City Car Show)
  • Support for the Arts Interrupted project coming later this summer

While these are just some highlights, we look forward to continuing to work with the community for the benefit of all who live and work in the neighborhood. BLCT is an initiative of the Children’s Home Society of Washington and benefits from City, County, corporate, and private funding to be able to continue our programs. We just changed and expanded our leadership team to improve our connectivity and increase our outreach with emphasis on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

As project manager for BLCT, a good deal of my time is connecting with neighbors and businesses to be a student of our neighborhood and to connect people with each other. I am privileged to promote Lake City and to be able to learn from our beautifully diverse neighborhood.

If you have an issue you would like to discuss you can drop me an email at Chris.Leverson@chs-wa.org