When the South Perry Business and Neighborhood Association held its annual meeting Tuesday evening at the Emmanuel Life Center, the first part of the meeting was dedicated to neighborhood news and updates from various organizations.
Spencer Granger, of the Emmanuel Life Center, has worked with the South Perry association for the past five years to set goals organized around what’s called the Main Street model.
“We are trying to create a district that is livable and financially viable and a benefit to the city,” Granger said about the list of goals he presented on behalf of the association. At the top of the list is the revision of the association’s bylaws and board structure as well as better outreach to the neighborhood.
“We will pursue the formation of a South Perry Neighborhood Council,” Granger said. The group will also finalize a website, as well as help create a permanent home for the farmers market, and help develop special initiatives that will encourage bicyclists to visit the neighborhood.
“These are all goals you have come up with for next year, and we are hoping to recruit you into this process and work alongside you to reach some of these goals,” Granger told about 30 people at the meeting.
The South Perry association meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Perry Street Cafe and officers will be nominated and elected at the next meeting.
“So show up – we need your help,” said the association’s interim president Pastor Deb Conklin. “There are sign up sheets for anything you feel passionate about on your way out.” Brian Estes, who runs the South Perry Farmers Market, said the market has outgrown The Shop’s parking lot by leaps and bounds.
“We are wrapping up our fifth season and it’s been our best season so far, so thank you for that,” Estes told the neighbors and business owners at the meeting, adding that in the three years he has been involved with the market vendor sales have increased by 400 percent.
That led to the market’s decision to go indoors at the Emmanuel Center once the last outdoor market day on Oct. 28 is over.
“We finish at The Shop on last Thursday of October and immediately on the first Thursday of November we will be in here right where you sit,” Estes said. Among many other plans the market would like to pursue is the construction of a community garden in Grant Park.
“I would love to see the neighborhood come up with a plan for what a community garden in Grant Park would look like,” said Estes. “That would be a first, and something we could be very proud of, especially if we do it in a very collaborative manner.”
Then it was Mayor Mary Verner’s turn and when she opened her budget presentation by saying the city’s budget is grim, smiles faded in the crowd. At Monday’s City Council meeting Mayor Verner announced citywide budget cuts and pink slips to make up for a $12 million budget shortfall. Tuesday night she repeated her message by going through the city’s revenue stream and budget in great detail.
“It’s a real challenge for us to meet our general fund responsibilities,” Verner said, explaining that the shortfall is due to lower-than-expected tax revenues across the board. “Our goal is to position Spokane for recovery, so we are trying not to eliminate departments.” Mayor Verner added that she has asked city unions to not take a raise next year.
“It sounds simple, but it’s not simple if you are the union,” Mayor Verner said. “That saves us $3.2 million of the $12 million. We really need that $3.2 million.” City Council member Jon Snyder then gave a short presentation mostly focused on all the road construction going on the area. Neighbors were happy to hear that the Altamont Hill may be open in just two weeks, while construction on Ninth Avenue continues.
There was a question about whether East Central Library may close – that’s a decision that’s up to the Library board, said Verner, but East Central and Indian Trail are the two libraries with the least use.