Riverview has a history of being politically active. It seems to go in waves, as a new generation takes over and new issues come up. Currently the Riverview Neighborhood Council is inactive, though that could change at any time.
Many of the Riverview people are active in the Highland Park Action Committee and/or the Highland Park Improvement Club. The similarity in names causes some people to think they are the same thing, but HPAC just happens to meet in the HPIC building. HPAC being a group that represents the Highland Park neighborhood and HPIC being one of the oldest private community centers in the city with a focus on building community.
Riverview Playfield would now be homes, had it not been for the actions taken by the Riverview Neighborhood Council back in the late 60’s, early 1970’s. Apparently the plan was for high rise apartments. They were also responsible for what sidewalks that we do have in the neighborhood.
In 2000, a small group of neighbors were encouraged by the City of Seattle to plan bicycle paths in the neighborhood. They formed rTrip to develop a plan for a route that would connect our neighborhood with the Duwamish trail. Red flags were raised in 2001, when they crashed a “Land Acquisition” meeting, being held by Fleets and Facilities, which was targeting the sale of the greenbelt section needed for the trail. They would hit a major roadblock in 2003.
In 2003, the Mayor was looking for money and ways to advance affordable housing. He found the old Soundway property and decided it was perfect. The neighborhood disagreed. The result was both exhilarating and tragic at the same time. Neighbors that had been spending their time and effort to improve the neighborhood were now forced to place all of their effort into stopping the development of the greenbelt. This battle lasted until 2005, though there was still uncertainty until 2011 when the City Council finally voted to transfer the property to Parks for greenbelt.
We have been involved in other issues, including the South Park Odor, the plans to build a jail where Nicklesville would later locate and then of course, there was Nicklesville. Sometimes it does seem like a constant battle to get our city to do the right thing.
The biggest takeaway that I have from all of this is, if the city is “looking for citizen input”, then it is time to organize. They have already decided what they want to do and just need this last step to complete their “due diligence” checklist.