In South Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood, Polar Cleaners has made its home at the southwest corner of Rainier Square Plaza for almost 50 years. As the only safe laundromat in the area, Polar Cleaners has become a community lifeline and place for neighbors to gather.
Owner Bonniejean Crone worked at the laundromat for over 30 years and took over the business in April of last year. Today, she is fighting to keep her neighborhood business after Kimco Realty, a real estate corporation headquartered in New York that recently bought the property, abruptly terminated her lease and threatened to move in new tenants. News of this sudden termination spread throughout the community, with many neighbors sending flowers, writing letters, and protesting the removal of their beloved laundromat.
On Dec. 10, 2021, the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development (OED) and then-Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the launch of Seattle Restored — a new program focused on activating vacant commercial storefronts in Downtown Seattle neighborhoods. The program has partnered with the Seattle Good Business Network and Shunpike, as well as other property owners, to provide spaces and support for local artists and entrepreneurs who can then use their designated space for 2 to 4 months, with hopes for eventual longer-term leases and expansion into different neighborhoods.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) estimates there are 680,000 children in Washington eligible in that age group, and about 183,000 of them live in King County. State officials have said they expect about 30% of parents to seek the vaccines immediately and others to wait longer.
The University of Washington (UW) expected to begin vaccinations for children over the next few days and invited the public to phone 844-520-8700 to get on a call-back list to make an appointment. Harborview Medical Center is among the locations that will vaccinate children this week.
Pharmacies and pediatrician’s offices and other clinics in the community were expected to begin administering the shots to children soon.
A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
Seattle Public Library Summer of Learning + Branches Reopen
This week, The Seattle Public Library (SPL) reopened the doors of the Central Library, as well as several branches so crucial to people in the South End: the Columbia Branch in Columbia City, the International District/Chinatown Branch, and the South Park Branch. All of these libraries reopened this week, allowing patrons once again to browse the shelves, use Wi-Fi, place holds, speak with librarians, or sit and read the latest newspapers and magazines. In addition, the library system has revised opening-hour procedures and will no longer close for a cleaning/sanitization break mid-day. You can find all library hours online at SPL.org. Library patrons must still practice physical distancing and wear masks at all SPL branches.