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The City of Sequim has been awarded a Municipal Excellence Award from the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) for its work in Community Engagement related to Neighborhood Revitalization.
AWC’s Municipal Awards recognize innovative city projects that significantly improve the quality of life for their communities. The competition is open each year to any Washington city or town. There were five awards given this year. The others went to Kenmore for Economic Development, Walla Walla for Homelessness, Affordable Housing and Mental Health Issues, Lakewood for Public Safety, and Friday Harbor in the category of Small City Success.
In 2015, the Sequim City Council adopted a goal to revitalize downtown neighborhoods. This led to a partnership with Habitat for Humanity and other community partners in the development of a Neighborhood Revitalization Coalition. A $5000 grant from Rotary International led to an exterior property survey to identify existing issues and to engage residents with an opportunity for Habitat workers to assist them with issues. The coalition was successful in helping one homeowner with necessary home repairs and beginning to focus the Sequim community on neighborhood clean-up activities.
The Rally in the Alley program began in 2016. For each event, dumpsters are brought into an advertised portion of the City, volunteers assist with trash collection, and residents are encouraged to get rid of unwanted items. To date, there have been six Rally in the Alley events, resulting in 47.99 tons of trash removed with the help of over 400 volunteers from 15 organizations. The next Rally in the Alley will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 6 as a part of Sequim Service Fest. Dumpsters will be located at the City Shop, 169 W. Hemlock Street, at Carrie Blake Park, and Blue Sky Real Estate, 190 Priest Road. The dumpsters will be available until full.
In 2017, the City began the process of formally defining its seven neighborhoods. A September Neighborhood Visioning meeting began brainstorming names for the different neighborhoods and identified neighborhood needs. December follow-up meetings advanced the conversation of potential neighborhood projects.
Much of the Coalition efforts are lead towards the Sequim Service Fest, June 4 – 15. For the first time in Habitat for Humanity’s national history, Habitat Care-A-Vanners, in partnership with the City of Sequim, focused on neighborhood revitalization instead of building homes. Twenty RVs, representing 37 Care-A-Vanners, signed up to come to Sequim and participate in the event, where they assisted homeowners with property repair, built public projects, and participated in the Sequim Day of Color.