Interested Finn Hill residents met last week to chart their next steps to becoming a neighborhood association. The group has now met twice to discuss formation of a neighborhood association to work with the City of Kirkland following annexation. Denny Creek Neighborhood Alliance (DCNA) has been active in seeking participants for the past eight months with email communications soliciting interest, an April newsletter mailed to 4,700 Finn Hill households inviting readers to its general meeting at which the topic of a neighborhood group was discussed, and a presentation at a Kirkland Neighborhood Alliance public meeting where a sign-up sheet was posted.
The first meeting of people interested in creating a neighborhood group took place on Monday, May 9th at St. John Vianney Church. Twelve people attended and shared information about themselves and the topics of interest that most concerned them. Topics included the environment, transportation and road safety, development, and the fire station relocation. Some background detail was offered by Jon Pascal and Jeff Hoerth regarding the role of neighborhood groups in Kirkland, with the primary function being as a communication conduit back and forth from between City staff and neighborhood residents on issues related to the neighborhood. The group agreed on having a presence at Kirkland’s Annexation Celebration functions June 1st and 3rd at City Hall and Juanita Beach Park, respectively. Mathew Pruitt volunteered to record names and email addresses of interested persons in a database. Janice Gerrish took on the role of secretary to record meeting minutes. Additionally, Pascal and Hoerth were designated co-spokespersons for the group.
The next meeting on Monday, May 20, also at St. John Vianney Church, drew a large number of people. Approximately 70 Finn Hill residents turned out. In identifying themselves and their area of residence, all areas of the Finn Hill annexation area had some degree of representation.
After introductory remarks by Pascal, which included a recap on the role of neighborhood organizations and encouragement to review a handbook produced by Kirkland Alliance of Neighborhoods on the subject, Hoerth made the case for citizens to utilize DCNA as its vehicle for forming a neighborhood group. He said DCNA has a resume that will allow the Finn Hill group to make an immediate impact.
- DCNA has a loyal core of members since its incorporation in 1994.
- Incorporation already exists so there’s no need for that additional paperwork, time, and expense (the City requires groups to be incorporated as a non-profit).
- There are funds in the bank to tap into for project suggestions so proposals can be made now rather than wait for additional fundraising.
- There is a long history of successful project management (Denny Creek, tree ordinance, Juanita Woodlands) that give the organization clout with City and County officials and staff.
- DCNA has already engaged in traditional neighborhood activities such as hosting a summer community picnic, sharing news of local interest with its members, putting on workshops, engaging in clean up campaigns and monitoring road safety, Christmas Ships viewing party, connecting with schoolkids, following up on development activities, and engaging in public policy areas (St. Edwards State Park and fire station).
- There is an existing website that can be modified to accommodate neighborhood news.
- An experienced treasurer/bookkeeper is in place.
- Despite notions to the contrary, DCNA has supporters and donors from all areas of Finn Hill.
- Having two distinct groups will dilute the efforts of both to attract donations and volunteers.
Several questions followed, but there appeared to be a large majority of those in attendance favoring working with DCNA if certain logistics (including mission statement, bylaws, and name revisions) can be agreed upon. A committee was created to identify what the group would like to see from DCNA to make the transition possible. That committee, along with another one drafting a mission statement and list of priority issues, will report back to the larger group at its next meeting on June 20th.
The topic of what issues mattered to people came up again with roads, development, safety, and the environment being raised. Other people volunteered to assist at the City of Kirkland Annexation Celebration on June 3rd at Juanita Beach from 3 to 7PM. The neighborhood group and DCNA plan to share a table at the event to talk with Finn Hill residents and encourage additional participation in both groups. Several people also volunteered to assist with identifying ways in which to better communicate with Finn Hill residents, such as reaching out to PTSA groups at the neighborhood schools.
The next neighborhood meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 20th at St. John Vianney Church. To be included on the email list for further communications, send a request to Pascal or Hoerth. Pascal can be reached at 206-890-3868 or firstname.lastname@example.org and Hoerth’s contact information is 206-353-1254 or email@example.com.