Historic Walker-Lake District: After many months of hard work and challenges overcome, the American Legion has opened for business at 6509 Walker Street, across from the Walker Building. In March, Habitation Furniture + Design closed on the nearby B & R Building and plans to open a design studio there this summer. Last month I shared news that Sota Clothing has purchased the 126-year-old Walker Building and will house office, warehouse, and a retail store there, with plans to open this summer. Sota also plans to host events in the space. SLP’s teen-centric coffee shop & gathering place, The Nest, is also eyeing spaces in the neighborhood. I’m excited about this unique neighborhood commercial development project right here in Ward 1. Stay tuned!
Common Sound Music Festival: More excitement for Ward 1: Beth El Synagogue & Benilde St.-Margaret’s School are partnering to host a summer outdoor music festival on Sunday, June 17. Common Sound Music Festival will take place in the Beth El parking lot and feature the Gin Blossoms, The Big Wu, and others. They hope to attract 1,500 people to the festival, which will impact some residents in the surrounding neighborhoods. An informational meeting for residents is set for Thursday, April 26, from 5-6:30 pm, at Beth El. Festival tickets can be purchased here.
Ranked Choice Voting (RCV): Tomorrow, April 16, City Council will host a public hearing on RCV and complete the first of two required votes on whether to allow RCV for future municipal elections. All seven members of the council must vote in favor for RCV to be adopted. Not sure how RCV works? Here’s info. I support RCV because I believe it reduces the influence of special interests in elections and leads to election outcomes that are more representative of the majority, among other reasons.
Tenant protection ordinance: Also on Monday, City Council is set to approve an ordinance designed to protect low-income renters in SLP. The ordinance will require new owners of affordable housing to pay relocation benefits to tenants if the owner increases the rent, re-screens existing residents, or implements non-renewals of leases without cause, within a three-month period following the ownership transfer of the property, if the tenant chooses to move due to these actions. I’m glad City Council, staff, and advocates are working to protect low-income renters in SLP, but believe we can and should do much more, including, possibly, set up a local housing trust fund to support the creation and preservation of affordable housing in SLP. More on this to come.
Climate Action Plan kickoff: Earlier this year, City Council approved a Climate Action Plan which commits our city to 100 percent renewable energy use by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2040. An all-ages kickoff event featuring music, activities, refreshments & speakers is planned for Sunday, April 22, from 2-5 pm at the SLP Rec Center. Info here.
Westwood Hills Nature Center building project: I continue be in favor of a new building at the Nature Center that serves every need identified by staff and the community, but opposed to the price tag for the building being proposed. I’d rather see our limited community resources spread out to address additional needs and opportunities including but not limited to pedestrian safety, safe water, housing, climate action, and the arts. The next vote on this project is May 7. Regardless of how the building plan moves forward, I’m committed to identifying ways we can broaden access to this valued community resource to more low-income people and people of color in our community, as well as strengthen connections with our students and schools. I’m working with my colleagues and others to identify ways we can invest in broadening access to the nature center at the same time we invest in bricks & mortar. I welcome your thoughts on this topic here.
Next Meetup: My next Ward 1 meetup is Sunday, May 6, 3-4:30 pm at the Birchwood Park Warming House. The topic will be Design Guidelines for new home construction. I plan to have some people with expertise on the topic there to join the conversation. If this topic interests you, I hope you’ll come and share your questions, concerns, & ideas to inform my work on your behalf on the council. Click here for information on future meetups.