Skyway, WA 2009
Partner: King County Parks and Recreation
Pomegranate Center led a community engagement process to develop a plan for a redesigned park then create gateways.
For years, the only news reported about the Skyway neighborhood in unincorporated King County was bad news – shootings, robberies, drugs. This diverse neighborhood south of Seattle is home to a mix of income levels and populations. It struggled with high business turnover, crime and racial polarization. There weren’t enough positive activities for kids and teenagers, parks were underused or misused, and there was no town center or gathering place for the community. As a result, Skyway residents weren’t proud of where they lived or connected to their community. With tight budgets, King County didn’t have the resources for a major improvements. To make any changes possible, the community would need to take charge of the revitalization process themselves.
As with developing any community, Skyway residents needed to create an image of what the future of their community could be. Partnering with King County Community Enhancement Initiative, Pomegranate Center created a community engagement process that was inclusive and meaningful, bringing many voices together to answer “What will make Skyway a great neighborhood?” The goal – to develop a citizen created, citizen owned plan to make Skyway safer, more beautiful, youth-friendly and economically strong.
After three community meetings, dozens of community “action circle” conversations, and a hundred ideas from hundreds of people were sorted and prioritized, Skyway Solutions was born. This plan was written not just to report on the planning results, but to inspire people into action. Each goal spoke of a vision for the future, plans to reach that future, and the names and phone numbers of people committed to leading that charge. It is a community plan alive with community character and enthusiasm.
Resulting from this process, Skyway Solutions became a nonprofit organization made up of volunteers with a commitment to their neighborhood. They continue to hold up and serve the vision put forth through the community planning process, turning the plan into action every day.