The Biggest Skyway-West Hill Stories of 2022

  Community Interest

by Devin Chicras

Here’s an ICYMI (“in case you missed it”) roundup of news from and impacting Skyway-West Hill in 2022!

WHCA members point at sign on easel showing projects in Skyway-West Hill funded by King County's Participatory Budgeting process.

You Helped Secure $4.7M in King County’s Participatory Budgeting Process

King County asked the community to organize, solicit project ideas, and allocate $10.3 million to unincorporated areas across the County through its Participatory Budgeting process. Thanks to community advocacy, nearly half of that total is coming home to fund the work of local orgs (like WHCA, thank you!), business revitalization, art, gardens, improvements to bus stops, business district beautification, Skyway Grocery Outlet’s community stage, and much more.

Skyway/West Hill Capital Projects Funded

  • Strolling Safe on 57th Avenue S ($1.4 million)
    • Create sidewalk or another safe route option for pedestrians walking down 57th Avenue S from the Tiny Home villages.
  • Campbell Hill – Community Track ($750,000)
    • Enhancements to walking track and field area of Campbell Hill Elementary School. This is a direct grant to Campbell Hill Elementary School.
  • Street Beautification – Skyway Business District ($500,000)
    • Beautify the Skyway business district (example: install planters).
  • Grocery Outlet – Outdoor Community Space Upgrades ($250,000)
    • Install permanent outdoor seating options for the Grocery Outlet “Main Stage” area. Level open space area. Enhance community space for public use. This is a direct grant to the property owners.
  • Welcome Home – Down Payment Assistance ($250,000)
    • Provide down-payment assistance for long term Skyway renters and those who have been displaced from Skyway.
  • Where is My Bus? – Metro Bus Stop Upgrades ($250,000)
    • Install seating at bus shelters and solar powered digital bus schedules at stops.
  • Redevelopment of Cynthia A. Green Family Center ($200,000)
    • Support exploration of affordable housing on the Cynthia A. Green Family Center property. This is a direct grant to Childhaven.
  • Hewet Skyway – Community Garden ($100,000)
    • Support the creation of a community garden near the Skyway Business District. Partnering with the Medhanialem Eritrean Orthodox Church. This is a direct grant to the property owners.
  • Community Garden Fund ($100,000)
    • Fund to support community gardens in 98178. Available through grant process, any organization or individual may apply.
  • Rahwa Ogbe Habte – Memorial Project ($50,000)
    • Build a socioemotional healing room dedicated to Rahwa Ogbe Habte at the site of the Hewet Community Garden. This is a direct grant to the property owners.
  • Utility Box – Cultural Art Mural Projects ($50,000)
    • Install cultural art murals on utility boxes throughout Skyway.

Skyway/West Hill Projects Funded by Marijuana Tax Revenue

  • Grant Program – Youth and Education Programs and Services ($280,000)
    • Create a program to provide grants of up to $120,000 for community organizations to support capacity building and community development in Skyway with a focus on Equity and Social Justice. Examples include food programs, including food banks and mobile meal delivery; transitional housing programs that serve low-income residents; free or subsidized laundry service for low-income residents; culturally competent pre-natal, midwife, and doula services; food access programs such as farmer’s markets, food vouchers, or expanding acceptance of public assistance; business support, including technical assistance, entrepreneur training, start-up funding, and small business planning and training; and community art programs.
  • West Hill Community Association – Capacity Building ($150,000)
    • Capacity building fund for West Hill Community Association. This is a direct grant to the West Hill Community Association.
  • Acts on Stage – Summer Youth Theater program ($50,000)
    • Free performing arts/theater programs for Skyway youths. This is a direct grant to Acts on Stage.
  • Green STEM apprenticeship program ($50,000)
    • Provide green science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) apprenticeship and career pathway jobs in wetland environments in Skyway. This is a direct grant to New Birth Center for Community Inclusion.
  • Refining Impact – Mobile Food Bank ($50,000)
    • Funding will support operational cost of mobile food distribution program. This is a direct grant to Restore & Repair Missionary Outreach.
  • We.App – Speak with Purpose ($35,000)
    • Free public speaking program for Skyway youths. This is a direct grant to WeAPP.
  • Double Dutch Divas ($30,000)
    • Free youth after-school program offering mentorship through physical activity. This is a direct grant to Double Dutch Divas.
  • Beyond High Schools – College Tours ($25,000)
    • Provide free access to college tours for youths in ZIP Code 98178. Program caters to tours of historically black colleges and universities. This is a direct grant to Life Enrichment Group.
  • Rainier Avenue Radio Apprenticeship Program ($25,000)
    • Free apprenticeship training focusing on radio broadcasting/communications. This is a direct grant to Rainier Avenue Radio.
  • Skyway Business Revitalization Project ($25,000)
    • Free business services for Skyway businesses, provided by King’s Dream Business Consulting. This is a direct grant to King’s Dream Business Consulting, LLC.
  • Colorful Communities Parent Support in Schools ($20,000)
    • Provide culturally competent parent support and education workshops to help navigate school systems. Providing support to parents and families in unincorporated King County ZIP code 98178. This is a direct grant to Colorful Communities, LLC.
  • Skyway Arts Commission ($20,000)
    • Establish a Skyway Arts Commission to oversee community art projects.
  • Art in the Park ($15,000)
    • Provide free pop-up arts/crafts workshops for youths and all ages. Culturally responsive art/craft projects that targeting historically underrepresented youths. This is a direct grant to Claudia V Designs.
  • Shine Nail Lab – Nail Art Workshops ($15,000)
    • Provide free nail art design/full set classes by celebrity nail technician Ericka Johnson of Shine Nail Lab. This is a direct grant to Shine Nail Lab.
  • So Fresh, So Clean! – Laundromat Fund ($10,000)
    • Free laundromat service for Skyway residents with low incomes. This is a direct grant to Skyway Laundromat.

New Conceptual Designs for Skyway Resource Center Were Inspired by Your Feedback

After many community meetings and surveys, conceptual designs are finalized. The schedule for bringing the Skyway Resource Center building to life includes working on design development through November, permitting through April 2023, and if all goes according to plan, starting construction in Spring 2023. You could be walking through the doors to this brand new community space in early 2024.

We Celebrated the Re-opening of Skyway Park

After many years of delays, a major sewer project wrapped up and King County Parks was able to get started on their renovation of Skyway Park. In October, the community celebrated the new playground, lighted pathways, mini-turf soccer field, refurbished softball field, and upgraded basketball court featuring hockey goals. Artwork for the basketball court and new restrooms are expected to come later in 2023. 

Other projects on the horizon include conversion of the triangular lot at the end of 75th Ave S on Renton Ave S into Black Panther Park, and improvements to the newly acquired parcels under the powerline leading to Skyway Park starting on 76th Ave S.

First community plan since 1994 passed, will shape our area’s future

According to King County, a Subarea Plan “expresses the community’s vision for the future and sets policies that will guide decisions affecting your neighborhood for years to come”.

The Skyway-West Hill Community Service Area Subarea Plan details policies specific to our communities and is adopted by the King County Council as part of the King County Comprehensive Plan, which “is the guiding policy document for land use and development regulations in unincorporated King County, and for regional services throughout the County including transit, sewers, parks, trails, and open space”.

The King County Council adopted the updated Comprehensive Plan, along with our Subarea Plan, on December 6, 2022. This is the first time our Subarea Plan has been updated since 1994.

King County Elections are moving to even years only

After the King County Council put its seal of approval on it, an amendment to the King County Charter that would move all county elections to even years was put on the ballot for the November 2022 general election.

With nearly 70% approval from voters, we’ll be seeing elections for county executive, assessor, director of elections, and councilmembers move from odd-numbered to even-numbered years beginning in 2026 in an effort to increase turnout.

King County joins 36 out of the 39 Washington counties (including Pierce) which already have their local elections in even years, electing federal, state, and local politicians all on the same ballot.

We Shopped at the Brand New Skyway Farmers Market & Bazaar

On October 30, 2022, the first farmers market held in Skyway since 2011 was brought to life, thanks to the Urban Food Systems Pact with support from Skyway Coalition.

Plans to continue the market in 2023 are in the works, and we look forward to the next one.

Other Local Recaps

Learn about major funding wins, legislation, and progress from local organizations, agencies, and lawmakers:

Like having a more engaged, informed and vibrant community? You can make a huge impact by joining your neighbors in giving $5 or more a month to the leanest, hardest working all-volunteer nonprofit in the neighborhood.