Liberty Bank Historic Landmark Hearing
Wed. Feb. 5th @ 3:30PM
On February 5th the Landmarks Preservation Board will consider the nomination for the former Liberty Bank building. The meeting will begin at 3:30 p.m. and will be held at Seattle Municipal Tower (700 – 5th Avenue, Suite 1756).
If you know anyone who is interested in providing public comment they can do so in person at the meeting, or by submitting written comments. Although the notice says to provide comments before 5:00pm the day prior to the meeting, people are encourage to do it early, even up to a week in advance. Whenever possible, Historic Preservation staff prefers to send comments to the Landmark Preservation Board members well in advance of the meeting so they have time to read them all.
All comments can be emailed to Erin Doherty at firstname.lastname@example.org. They also can be mailed or dropped off to Erin’s attention to:
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
Attn: Erin Doherty
700 5th Avenue, Suite 1700
PO Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124
For people who would like to offer verbal comment at the meeting, individuals will have three minutes to speak, and organizations will have five minutes to speak.
Here is a sample letter of support:
Dear Ms. Doherty and members of the Landmark Preservation Board:
I write in support of the Landmark Status Application filed by Omari Garrett for the Liberty Bank Building at 24th Avenue and Union Street.
Liberty Bank operated in our neighborhood at a significant time, addressing the needs of African Americans who had been denied access to banking and victimized by legalized practices of redlining and restrictive covenants. The founders of the bank recognized the importance of building an institution that would serve the community and invest in the community. Thebank was a pillar of the community during a time that bridged an era of segregation and discrimination to an era of increasing opportunities. It was unique during its time and today it retains a unique significance in the history of Seattle and American history.
The bank building is significant to the neighborhood vitality too. The Africatown Central District of today is more diverse than it was 40 years ago and many of the distinctly African American businesses are no longer part of the community. Yet I hear from major landlords and developers that the neighborhood’s African American cultural heritage remains an economic asset, a unique feature of the neighborhood that attracts residents of all races and increases the economic viability of their projects. Thus the neighborhood’s economic vitality depends on retaining the African American character of the neighborhood even as gentrification makes it more diverse and less distinctly African American.
While individual businesses may close or move, the history remains. It is up to us to remember it, to preserve it, and to pass it on to future generations. The Liberty Bank Building is a cornerstone of that history, a building that encapsulates the whole story of Africatown better that any other non-Church institution or building in the neighborhood. Please preserve it.