District 7 – Downtown to Discovery Park
Sally Bagshaw and Deborah Zech Artis
1. What’s your favorite historic place in Seattle and why do you think it’s important?
Pike Place Market. I appreciate that it was preserved thanks to a vote of the people, and most recently the voters again decided to tax themselves to upgrade and restore one of the most loved, most visited places in our city. As a Downtown resident, I shop at the Pike Place Market weekly because I appreciate the spirit and local shops. And, as our Waterfront grows and construction on the viaduct replacement project is completed, Pike Place Market will become the link between the Aquarium and Downtown.
2. How can Seattle accommodate the growing numbers of residents and increase in density while keeping neighborhood character?
Seattle’s neighborhoods are distinct and original, and in my experience everyone believes their neighborhood is the best. By some counts we have over 125 individual ‘hoods, all of which must share the responsibility of adapting and welcoming their share of the 100,000+ more people we expect to move into our city in the next 15-20 years. Here are three ways:
- Preserving older buildings: We pride ourselves on being a national leader of sustainable development, and we must combine environmental awareness and preservation with historical preservation: this means we must make city-wide plans to preserve and maintain older buildings in each neighborhood and adapt them for appropriate residential uses. For public health and safety reasons, we must create matching funds to restore some older public health and safety purposes, we should develop a new matching fund to assist owners make seismic upgrades to their unreinforced masonry buildings, and restore some of the older single room occupancy hotels and dormitories.
- ADU’s and DADU’s: Incentivize carefully constructed Auxiliary Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Detached Auxiliary Dwelling Units (DADU’s) with appropriate height, bulk, and scale limitations. These should be encouraged across the city.
- Transit oriented development: By encouraging new investments and residential infill development along transit corridors and requiring impact fees for transportation, sidewalks, and parks, we can provide spaces for new residents and connect them to older neighborhoods.
3. Do you believe historic buildings and places help create a more sustainable, affordable, and livable city? If so, how?
Absolutely yes. Seattle can benefit economically from several facets of historic preservation. The Federal Historic Tax Credit encourages rehabilitation of older buildings and leverages five times the private investment that the program costs. Creative funding sources such as the Federal Historic tax credits or a leveraged funding source for unreinforced masonry upgrades can promote the reuse or repurposing of older buildings.
Also, restoring older buildings offers the environmental benefits of reusing and repurposing materials, and creates construction and fine-art jobs in the local economy that are both highly skilled and high paying. Preservation promotes historic tourism and makes Seattle a great place to visit. It can also foster the walkability of a neighborhood, reducing environmental pollution and strengthening the local economy. We need to take advantage of all of these approaches if we are to continue our reputation of a “City of Neighborhoods.”
September 12, 2015