The Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance is an independent, community-based nonprofit, which started out as a grassroots volunteer organization called the Denny Creek Neighborhood Alliance (DCNA), formed in 1994. Organized to protect the quality of the community’s rich woodlands and waterways, it also raised public awareness of these natural backyard treasures over many years’ time.
Below you can read a series of articles about the history of the FHNA and DCNA. If you have a story to share, please let me know!
Remember Kirkland 2035? In January of 2014, the City of Kirkland came to Finn Hill. The planning department was beginning a visioning process aimed at planning the next 20 years and asked our community what we hoped for Finn Hill and for Kirkland. This is what you told them: Finn Hill Neighborhood Visioning Comments, January 15, 2014 What makes your neighborhood a great place to live? Over the next few months the city met with other neighborhoods and community groups and finished the comprehensive plan amendment process. Comprehensive planning is a process that determines community goals and aspirations in terms of community development. The outcome of comprehensive planning is the Comprehensive Plan which dictates public policy in terms of transportation, utilities, land use, recreation, and housing. To learn more about Vision 2035, visit the city’s website: http://www.kirklandwa.gov/Residents/Community/Kirkland2035.htm. Now, it is Finn Hill’s time! The natural extension of the input that our community provided the city in 2014 is for Finn Hill to do its own work and develop its own shared vision – or a neighborhood plan. The process of a developing a neighborhood plan will give us as neighbors the power to shape development and growth. What should development look like? Where will it go? What about the growth of our trail system and parks? Do we want more social gathering places and meeting areas? How will we protect our open spaces and waterways? What about transportation, public safety, connectivity and other issues? These are all questions we will tackle during this process. GFL Students at Denny Fest on September 13 The City of Kirkland has contracted with the Green Futures Lab (GFL) out of the University of Washington to develop a neighborhood plan for Finn Hill. GFL uses graduate students in planning, architecture and related disciplines to collaborate with local communities to promote the application and development of green infrastructure. Some of the students working on this project will be at Denny Fest on September 13 from 12 to 4 PM at O.O. Denny Park. They will have a 3D model of our neighborhood and will be using various tools to gather your hopes and dreams for the future of our community. Listening Session on October 15 at Finn Hill Middle School A listening session is being developed for the evening of October 15 to be held at Finn Hill Middle School. As the date gets closer a time will be determined and more information will be shared on the FHNA website, through email, and other sources. At this meeting GFL will be using surveys, interactive mapping, instant polling and other methods to get your feedback. We need you! We are not making shelf art here. Our intent is to make a plan that will be reviewed by the planning commission, reviewed by the city council, and implemented by the planning department. We cannot make this work without your involvement in the process! We will need facilitators of small group discussions and volunteers to perform other tasks. We would also like to enlist volunteers to spread news about the Finn Hill planning process to friends and neighbors. And we’re looking for Finn Hill residents who would be willing to host coffees or receptions in their homes, so that we can talk informally to local residents about the...read more
The Kirkland Heritage Society has the January/February 2015 Blackberry Preserves newsletter available. View PDF: KHS_2015vol22issue2 The feature article is by Vic Armfield who writes about Kirkland’s Part in the WWII War Effort. He has an aerial view guide to help orient the WWII era Kirkland buildings. Loita Hawkinson, the Editor writes, “On May 27, 2015 please join us for an evening lecture with State Architectural Historian Michael Houser. Mr. Houser will be sharing his knowledge of Post WWII design and construction and how a variety of local and regional designers helped shape the built environment of Kirkland during the 1950s and 60s. Learn about typical styles and features of ranch houses and split levels, as well as more upscale designs from Pacific Northwest Regional and Meisian. “Also joining the discussion is noted architectural historian Mimi Sheridan who will be recording midcentury resources in Kirkland later this Spring. Learn about her project and how you can get involved in preserving this unique aspect of Kirkland’s...read more
The Farr Family Based on an Interview with Grant Farr by Bonnie Rimawi, on May 24, 2013 “My full name is Sheldon Grant Farr, Jr., but I go by Grant because my dad was Sheldon; that way we didn’t get each other confused.” So begins the interview about a boy, Grant Farr, growing up in the family home in the forest of what is now known as part of O.O. Denny Park. The story was told to two members of the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance (FHNA), and is replete with descriptions of the family’s property, their house and landscape and their friends and neighbors along Holmes Pt. Drive. The woodland contiguous with O.O. Denny Park lays on the eastside of Lake Washington in Kirkland, WA, an intimate forest treasure of cedar and fir. Wild blueberry and huckleberry bushes flourish at the feet of these giants. A lush forested ravine runs through the woodland and forest paths wend their way along and crisscross over gentle Denny Creek. Strong, verdant sword ferns carpet the sides of the ravine and adorn the paths stretching out their ragged arms as though trying to touch passers-by. The visitor can hike the trails and marvel at the charming creek nestled at the bottom of the ravine. In inclement weather, the hiker is sheltered from wind and rain by the towering evergreens and in summer one is shaded from the sun’s sting. In these quiet woods there is little evidence that a family once lived here. And yet, within this hospitable forest a family settled. The year was 1951. Sheldon Grant Farr and his wife, Helen, purchased 20 acres of forest property in what is now known as upper O.O. Denny Park. They brought their three young children, Grant, Sheila and Pamela and made their home. They were not the first to inhabit this forest, but they were the last. The Farr’s predecessors were Mr. C.O. Larsen and his wife. Mr. Larsen was the man who had carried out the steel contracting on the Evergreen floating bridge. He had built two small houses, one close to the Denny Park boundary, on property which he had assembled by buying several parcels and parts of parcels to make up the whole property. Larsen had created a tiny wonderland in the middle of the forest. Although the houses he built were small, his landscaping was extensive. He built a dam and spillways over the stream (Denny Stream had not yet become Denny Creek). He planted rhododendrons, azaleas and a variety of fruit trees: apple, pear and cherry. There were concrete walkways graced by regal rows of juniper. When the Farrs moved in, the fruit trees and much of the plantings were overgrown. Someone had run a bulldozer over the dam and had broken the spillway. The Farr family moved into the larger of the two small houses and the lesser one became Sheldon Farr’s workshop. In later years, the workshop deteriorated, though it remained on the property. Still, the Farr’s family home was equipped with all the necessary utilities. There was plumbing and electricity and radiant heat from heaters that glowed red when one flipped the switch. There were two bedrooms, one bathroom, a small living room and a kitchen. Larsen had left a barn and the Farrs acquired...read more
Dear Finn Hill neighbors and friends: The Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance is hosting a meeting for all Finn Hill residents this Wednesday, March 12, at 7pm in the Finn Hill Middle School cafeteria, 8040 132nd Street NE. Please come! The agenda will cover some very important topics: Trails in Big Finn Hill Park: If you walk or bike through Big Finn Hill Park you need to come to Wednesday’s meeting for this topic alone. Over the past 18 months, King County has worked with Park users to craft a plan for trails that will accommodate the needs of everyone. There was a lot of spirited debate over that plan, but a compromise was hammered out. The hard part now is implementing the plan in a way that’s faithful to that consensus. FHNA is announcing the formation of Friends of Big Finn Hill Park to act as a “meeting place” for park users to discuss plan implementation and to ensure that the voices of walkers, dog owners, joggers and cyclists are heard. We’ll work with the County to promote trail development and maintenance that all users can support. Come hear our proposals and provide your input! Finn Hill neighborhood plan: Many of us spent a provocative evening with City Planners last month offering our views on what we want to see in Finn Hill’s future – and what we hope to avoid. For those of you who couldn’t attend, we’ll provide a recap. And we’ll also offer a plan for digging deeply into the issues you raised. We’d love to hear your thoughts about how we can work with the City to control our neighborhood’s destiny. City parks on Finn Hill: Kirkland is revising its parks and open space plans. The initial draft of the new plan is now being considered. There are several recommendations specific to Finn Hill. Michael Cogle from the Parks Department will describe the process and answer questions about the new plan. See you on Wednesday! Scott Morris Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance – Presiden (formerly Denny Creek Neighborhood Alliance) www.finnhillalliance.org| 206-972-9493 PO Box 682, Kirkland WA...read more
Dear Finn Hill neighbors and friends: Here’s a snapshot of what happened at our members’ meeting on Wednesday, January 15: Bylaws amendment: The members approved an amendment to the FHNA bylaws that allows our treasurer to sign FHNA checks so long as he or she has obtained prior approval in writing from another FHNA officer. (Previously, we needed to have another office sign the checks themselves, which led to delays in issuing reimbursements to vendors and to volunteers who had purchased supplies for FHNA events like DennyFest.) The amendment affected Article V, Section 1.c of the bylaws. The revision is shown on the attached marked draft. A clean version of the revised bylaws is also attached. We’ll post the amended bylaws on the FHNA website, too. Master Transportation Plan: Dave Godfrey of the City’s Public Works Department reviewed the City’s schedule to revise its transportation plan as a part of the Comprehensive Plan update. More information about the timetable for the plan is available on the City of Kirkland’s transportation web page. Kirkland Comprehensive Plan Visioning: Kirkland city officials led the audience in small group discussions about how residents want Kirkland to evolve through 2035. The groups’ input will be factored into the City’s Comprehensive Plan, which will be developed over the course of the next 18 months. Very briefly, most of the discussion groups felt that Kirkland should protect and enhance its open spaces and concentrate areas of higher residential density and commercial/retail development in specific areas around the city, which could serve as neighborhood centers. Each meeting attendee was asked to provide a single word to describe his or her vision for Kirkland in 2035. These suggestions were blended through the magic of software into a word cloud, aka a wordle. (No surprise: the prominent word in our wordle was “Green”. We’ll post it on FHNA website once it’s available from the City.) You can find wordles from other neighborhoods, from the Planning Commission and other citizen groups the City’s 2035 educational webpage. The City’s website has a lot of additional information about the Comp Update planning process. Check it out. Finn Hill Neighborhood Plan: Following up on this week’s Visioning exercise (see above), the City will hold several community meetings with groups of neighborhoods to link the Comprehensive Plan Update to neighborhood plans. Because Finn Hill, Juanita, and Evergreen Hill (Kingsgate) weren’t part of Kirkland when it prepared neighborhood plans, we don’t have neighborhood plans yet. So, the City has scheduled a combined meeting for all 3 neighborhoods to get a sense of what our aspects of the Comp Plan should be tailored for our specific neighborhoods. That meeting is scheduled for February 19 at from 6pm to 8:30pm pm at the Church of the Latter Day Saints, 7910 NE 132nd Street, at the corner of Juanita Drive and 132nd. (Right here on Finn Hill.) You should already have received a flyer about the meeting. Please make every effort to attend this meeting! This will be a very important opportunity to present our views about Finn Hill’s future to the City’s leadership. In addition, FHNA is preparing to continue the discussion of neighborhood planning for Finn Hill through the remainder of the year. We plan to send out a survey via email (and...read more
Learn about the history of the Bonfire and Christmas Ships. Who makes the bonfires? How many Christmas Ships have come to O.O. Denny Park? Join us on December 16th to learn about this and much more. This is the time of year when we get together with friends and family to celebrate and share our many holiday traditions. One such tradition is our sojourn to O.O Denny Park to greet the Christmas Ship with its carolers and entourage of smaller vessels that come to the park’s shores to serenade us each December. An important part of this event is the wonderful bonfire built by members of our community that keeps us warm as we sing along with the carolers and greet friends and neighbors that have come to the park to share in this tradition. The Christmas Ship, lit with hundreds of lights that dance in its reflection as it pauses along the lake shore, together with smaller gaily decorated boats that amass around it, presents a colorful spectacle as the bonfire lights up the shoreline. You are invited to join us on Monday, December 16th, at 7:00 PM for a presentation of the history of the bonfire and the Christmas Ships. We will hear from Jim Lloyd who has organized the bonfire for the last twenty two years and we will see images of the different Christmas Ships and bonfires that have graced the shores of Seattle waterways over many years. We hope you’ll join us. Friends and family are welcome. Please send your confirmation along with the number of people who will be attending with you to Barbara Radford via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can call 425 820 2413. Bonnie Rimawi is hosting this event and once your confirmation is received, we will get back to you with details and directions. Contact Barbara Radford to learn more about participating in upcoming History Project meetings and presentations. The History Project is a Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance committee researching and documenting early Finn Hill settlers. baradford@Comcast.net or call 425 820...read more
Have you ever wondered, as you write down your address, or read the road signs while stopped at a traffic light, what the O. O. of O. O. Denny means, or why Arrowhead and Champagne Points have those names, or how the Finn got in Finn Hill? Here are some historical answers to how our neighborhood’s place names were...read more
Dear Finn Hill neighbors and friends: This is just a quick reminder that the annual FHNA member’s meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday, November 6, at 7pm in the Finn Hill Middle School Cafeteria (8040 Northeast 132nd Street Kirkland, WA 98034). We’ve got 3 main items on the agenda: Election of FHNA directors Update on Juanita Drive Corridor study Finn Hill Park & Recreation District (FHPRD) presentation on use of surplus funds ($185k) for Finn Hill parks and open spaces. And we’ve received a lot of comments on how the FHPRD should spend the surplus funds in the FHPRD account. (See the email below for background information, in case you missed it last week.) Thank you for your recommendations! These have been forwarded to the FHPRD commissioners, who are grateful for the input. In a nutshell, your suggestions covered the following projects in or affecting OO Denny Park: Sprinkler system Second shelter Second playground Fence/benches around existing playground Waterfront benches Interpretive signs on trails Off leash dog area Improved parking Restoration of various areas along trail from Holmes Point Drive to stone bridge over OO Denny Creek Traffic calming measures on Holmes Point Drive north and south of park Boardwalk over/adjacent to Denny Creek near Juanita Drive Connection of OO Denny trails with Big Finn Hill trails Other suggestions included: Improvements to Juanita Heights Park (which is within FHPRD boundaries) Tot lots or other park land acquisitions on Finn Hill (within FHPRD boundaries) Expanded trails on Finn Hill (e.g. from Juanita Heights Park to Juanita Beach; through ravine near Simonds Road) A new dog park Improved/expanded pedestrian/bike easements on Finn Hill Additional restroom facilities in Big Finn Hill Park (a King County park, not funded by FHPRD) Improvements to Juanita Drive Several of the recommendations appear on the FHNA website, following the article about the FHPRD surplus funds. It should be a very interesting meeting on Wednesday. We hope that you will attend! Scott Morris Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance – President (formerly Denny Creek Neighborhood Alliance) www.finnhillalliance.org| 206-972-9493 PO Box 682, Kirkland WA 98083...read more
Dear Finn Hill neighbors and friends: The Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance is holding its annual members’ meeting next Wednesday, November 6, at 7pm in the Finn Hill Middle School cafeteria. (8040 Northeast 132nd Street Kirkland, WA 98034.) This is a public meeting and all Finn Hill residents are encouraged to attend. We have some important official business to address and then we’ll cover several local government initiatives that will significantly affect us on Finn Hill. Agenda items include: Election of FHNA directors: The terms for 5 seats on our 11 person board of directors expire this year, so members will be asked to vote on candidates to fill these positions. Three of our current directors whose terms expire seek re-election: Connie Winter, Francesca Lyman, and Jeanette Leach. Two directors whose terms expire have decided that they do not wish to continue on the board: Ellen Haas and Meg Tally. We are soliciting nominations for candidates to fill the seats to be voted on. If you wish to serve or would like to recommend a candidate, please contact me by email as soon as possible: email@example.com. Annual Report: We’ll give you a brief overview of what FHNA did over the past 12 months, including how much money it raised through donations and how it spent those funds. Juanita Drive Corridor Study: If you have been to one of our last few meetings, you heard about the City’s study to improve safety on this arterial; you may even have commented on some suggested improvements (roundabouts, medians, sidewalks, and crosswalks). The study phase is just about to conclude, and the City’s consultants will provide a status report on which recommendations will be submitted to the City Council for approval. You’ll have an opportunity to comment and ask questions. Designation of $185,000 for Improvements to Finn Hill Parks: The Finn Hill Park and Recreation District (FHPRD) is transferring a reserve fund of $185,000 to the City for projects that will benefit City-maintained parks in Finn Hill. We’ll send out a separate email on this item with more details. Here’s the bottom line: The FHPRD commissioners plan to recommend that the money be spent on irrigation and a new shelter at O.O. Denny Park, but they are open to alternative proposals from Finn Hill residents. Some of the commissioners will be available at the November 6 meeting to answers questions and hear your ideas. Since the commissioners want to finalize their recommendations on November 7, this is a final opportunity for you to make an impact on how the FHPRD’s reserve fund will be spent. As you can see, the November 6 meeting will not only feature some timely reports but will also give you a chance to offer your own views. Please join us on the 6th! Scott Morris Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance – President (formerly Denny Creek Neighborhood Alliance) www.finnhillalliance.org| 206-972-9493 PO Box 682, Kirkland WA 98083...read more
Dear Finn Hill friends and neighbors: The Finn Hill Park & Recreation District (FHPRD) has $185,000 that it wants to designate for Finn Hill park and open space projects by November 7. The FHPRD commissioners have identified uses for the money but they would like to give the public a final opportunity for suggestions. Read on to learn more – and please plan to attend the FHNA meeting on November 6 to hear from the commissioners directly and to offer your ideas. Background: Since 2003, the FHPRD has maintained O.O. Denny Park with funds paid by Finn Hill residents through a special property tax assessment. The vote for the Kirkland park levy in 2012 gave the City the financial resources to take over O.O. Denny Park maintenance (which it began to do in April). As a result, the FHPRD has stopped collecting the property assessment and is dissolving itself at the end of 2013. The good news is that the FHPRD commissioners – all elected volunteers – have not only kept the park in good shape but they’ve also managed to build up a reserve fund that they plan to transfer to the City for improvements to Finn Hill parks. The fund is $185,000 and the commissioners invite final input on how it should be spent. They’ll give a presentation at our November 6 neighborhood meeting and welcome your suggestions. Some rules: By law, the FHPRD can’t just hand the funds to the City without restrictions. The commissioners want to ensure that the money is spent in Finn Hill for parks and for the benefit of the residents who paid the property assessments to the FHPRD. In brief, the commissioners want to the money to be spent: · On Finn Hill parks or open space. (Note: this excludes Big Finn Hill and Juanita Woodlands, which are King County parks.) · For capital projects, like land acquisition or park amenities. (So that the money doesn’t “disappear” into ongoing park maintenance costs, which are already covered by the Kirkland park levy.) · On stand-alone projects that can be completed, or at least launched, quickly. (So that the money doesn’t “disappear” into a long-term capital project that has to be funded from a variety of sources.) Suggested Projects – Sprinkler system and a second shelter in O.O. Denny Park The commissioners have determined that two good uses for the funds are the installation of a sprinkler system for the main lawn in O.O. Denny Park (to keep it green in the summer, using Kirkland’s rights to Lake Washington water) and the construction of a second shelter north of the park’s existing shelter. Surplus money can be used to improve access to the newly expanded Juanita Heights Park. The commissioners haven’t heard other specific suggestions from residents, but they’re still open to good ideas. Deadline – November 6: The FHPRD has to tell Kirkland how to spend the $185,000 very soon, so that all of the paperwork can be approved before the district dissolves at the end of the year. The FHPRD commissioners will take recommendations through November 6 – the date of our neighborhood meeting. Three ways to submit ideas: · You can make comments on the FHNA website or by a reply email. (We’ll pass your comments along to the commissioners.)...read more