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West Hill sheriff's precinct named in honor of Alajawan Brown
For four years Ayanna and Louis Brown have kept alive the memory and giving nature of their slain son, Alajawan.
Now, the King County Sheriff's Office will help ensure the 12-year-old is remembered. The sheriff's storefront office in Skyway has a new name: The King County Sheriff's Alajawan Brown Memorial West Hill Storefront.
"I am humbled. I truly am," said Ayanna Brown of the honor bestowed on her son.
Sheriff's detectives and deputies and command staff were among the hundreds of community members deeply touched by the murder of Alajawan, an innocent victim of gang violence on West Hill on April 29, 2010.
Curtis John Walker of Kent was sentenced in March 2012 to 50 years in prison for killing Alajawan; he shot the young boy in the back in the parking lot of a 7-11 store on Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
Sitting in the window of the storefront is a painting of a young boy carrying a part of football cleats. Alajawan had just gotten off the bus, carrying a pair of football shoes he bought at Wal-Mart, when he was shot.
Alajawan told his mother all the time he was going to be famous one day.
"I guess it's official," she said.
The Browns, through their Alajawan Brown Foundation, have collected and handed out backpacks to hundreds of students on West Hill and beyond. They've served Thanksgiving dinners with the help of the West Hill Community.
"We're just trying to be sure we carry on his legacy," Ayanna Brown said.
The new storefront name comes as the West Hill Community gets new sidewalks and a new Welcome to Skyway sign nearby on Renton Avenue South, unveiled May 14.
Residents in the West Hill neighborhood celebrated a new “Welcome to Skyway” gateway sign and better sidewalk connections within their community Wednesday as part of recent King County work along Renton Avenue South.
The sign unveiling marked completion of recent Renton Avenue South sidewalk improvements near 76th Avenue Southeast and comes as officials announced another $650,000 in grant funding for more sidewalk work next year, according to a King County press release.
“We know that there are still sidewalk gaps to fill both here and across the county, but this is a step in the right direction for safety and business development in Skyway,” said Brenda Bauer, King County Road Services director. “Helping people walk in their communities improves the environment and makes us healthier and more connected.”
The improvements help to better connect residents with local businesses, the transit system and critical neighborhood and regional service agencies like the Youth and Family Service Center and the Miracles Food Bank. The new sidewalks will deliver residents to the current Skyway Library just around the corner, and will deliver people to the doorstep of the future Skyway Library at the intersection.
The new King County library is scheduled to break ground and preliminary designs show an 8,000 square foot structure with room for more materials and computers, space for children and teens and a community meeting room.
Crews completed the first round of sidewalk work on Renton Avenue South in 2013.
The community identified improvements in 2002 as a way to revitalize the Renton Avenue South corridor with a “boulevard feel” to welcome pedestrians and cyclists and encourage shoppers to visit local businesses.
Funding for the project was a team effort. County officials thanked the City of Renton for advocating for the project with the state Legislature, which then appropriated funds administered by the state Department of Commerce.
King County also secured federal Housing and Urban Development funds from the Community Development Block Grant program. These efforts raised a little over $1 million dollars for this project.
Thanks to a new federal grant from the Transportation Alternatives Program, King County will be investing another $650,000 in sidewalk improvements on Renton Avenue South. That project is being designed this year and later will break ground.
That project will continue to build missing links of sidewalks and improve bus stops just down the street. The next phase will be from 68th to 74th avenues south and from 75th Avenue South to South 126th Street, and on 78th Avenue South from Renton Avenue South to South 126th Street.