A timeline of the Wedgwood Community Club and Wedgwood Community Council:
- 1946: The Wedgwood Community Club is established, a product of the bustling new Wedgwood housing development. Wedgwood is still outside the city limits, and young couples organize to petition the city for street improvements and mail delivery.
- 1950s and 60s: In the early years, two area community clubs, operating in separately developed sections of the Wedgwood area, merge. Eastwood Community Club (75th to 85th on the east side of 35th Avenue NE) joined with the Wedgwood Community Club (30th to 35th Avenues, 80th to 85th Streets). The Wedgewood Rock Community Club (25th to 30th Avenues south of NE 75th Street) applied to join in with the Wedgwood Club. Their application was rejected when the Club set its southern boundary at NE 75th Street. The 50s and 60s are a heyday for the WCC, with full-fledged community newspapers, Miss Wedgwood contests, and other annual traditions. There are controversies too, not the least of which was the “matter of the Shearwater Housing project.”
- Early 1970s: Community involvement wanes with an established business area and a nearly filled residential area. Fewer issues attract community concern and the club finally ceases functioning.
- 1980s: Frank and Dorothy Brancato notice changes in the neighborhood, including subdivided lots and “skinny” houses. Dorothy observes the award-winning Maple Leaf Community Council in action and works to re-establish a similar organization in Wedgwood. Community response is enthusiastic and the current incarnation of the Wedgwood Community Council is born on March 6, 1987, with Frank Brancato as its first president and Dorothy serving as newsletter editor.
- Late 1990s: The Matthews Red Apple controversy! A beloved local grocery, Matthews Red Apple Market, loses its lease and is to be replaced by QFC. Hundreds rally to try to keep their store and a core group forms the Wedgwood Community Advocacy Association (WCAC) to assert their positions. Ultimately, QFC moves in, changing their remodel plans and hours of operation in response to community concerns voiced through the Wedgwood Community Council. The WCAC soon merges with the WCC, and one of its leaders, Brian Swanson, becomes WCC president and remains so for six years.
2000s: The WCC establishes a new tradition, the Wedgwood Annual Outdoor Cinema, attended by hundreds one night each summer. The annual Business Trick-or-Treat continues, as do WCC community meetings every other month and regular engagement in advocacy for street and other neighborhood improvements. The WCC serves as an important center point for a community response to a mini crime wave and an extension of the Block Watch program. The Wedgwood Echo newsletter soldiers on as community papers fold around it.
- Late 2000s: A large condo development (eventually completed as the Jasper Apartments) proposed for 8606 35th Ave NE re-energizes the community around land use issues. The WCC’s Wedgwood Vision Project engages the community in producing the Wedgwood Vision Plan.
- 2010: One of the first major efforts to emerge from the Vision Plan is the pursuit of a new park in Wedgwood to serve as a gathering space near the retail core. The Morningside Substation site is identified and acquired but plans are put on hold for the Seattle Parks Dept. to develop budget for maintenance of new parks. The former Morningside Substation is acquired by the Seattle Parks Dept but is land-banked for future development.
- 2012: Final print edition of the Wedgwood Echo community council newsletter is produced in May 2012, its demise due to paper and postage costs. The WCC increases emphasis on news via its webpage, Facebook, Twitter and e-mail notifications. Wedgwood historian Valarie Bunn opens a blog site called Wedgwood in Seattle History to continue telling stories of the neighborhood.
- 2013-2015: The Future of 35th Ave NE Committee continues the work of land use planning following recommendations within the Wedgwood Vision Plan.
- 2015-2016: The Wedgwood Community Council continues to advocate for land use planning by meeting with City Councilmembers to present the Future of 35th Plan for adoption. For parks planning, in 2015 the Wedgwood Community Council created the Picnic Place at the corner of NE 86th Street for interim use of the site which has been on-hold for park development. For community events, a first-ever Wedgwood Community Picnic was held in September 2016. The program was at The Gathering Place at Hunter Tree Farm and included children’s entertainment, music, info tables from local businesses, and food trucks.
- 2018-2019: Seattle Dept of Transportation proposed to repave 35th Ave NE. As part of the initial final plans, SDOT proposed reduced parking on 35th Ave NE and a protected bike lane. In what was one of our neighborhood’s lowest points, two community groups with roots Wedgwood but also including Wedgwood residents formed to both oppose and defend SDOT’s proposal to include a protected bike lane. This ultimately resulted in a new brokered street design without the separated bike lane. More importantly to the WCC though was significant damage this controversy did to neighborhood cohesion, collaboration, and engagement.
- 2018-2020: Following voter-approved funding, Seattle Parks and Recreation undertakes a design process for the land-banked Morningside Substation park site. A final design was selected, but construction was suspended before it began while the City repurposed the funding for the park instead for its emergency COVID-19 response with park development on-hold until funding can be re-appropriated.
- 2020: The Wedgwood Community Council acknowledged the traditional lands of the Duwamish People upon which Wedgwood was developed and apologies for its role in perpetuating systemic racism, committing to work towards a more equitable and inclusive community that welcomes everyone.
- 2020-2021(so far…): Due to COVID-19, Wedgwood is beginning to visibly see some of the fallout to our business district. Two of Wedgwood’s bus routes are suspended and both US Bank and QFC have announced they are leaving 35th Ave NE. The loss of US Bank and QFC are not entirely due to COVID-19, but both were factors in the company’s decision to leave.