The event was hosted by the Greater Bothell Chamber of Commerce at the Inglewood Golf Club. Karlinsey was the keynote speaker, opening with excitement for the chamber’s upcoming name change to include Kenmore due to the large number of Kenmore businesses in the organization.
The presentation focused on the city’s economic development, recently funded projects and the city’s trajectory as a whole. Karlinsey compared the city’s growth to a growing child.
“(Growth) doesn’t happen overnight, right?” he asked. “(It’s) growing in tiny little increments every day and all those little increments add up over time and pretty soon, you have beautiful city on your hands.”
Karlinsey reinforced this theme throughout his address as he spoke about the various Kenmore projects in development.
Currently, the city’s top priority is pedestrian and bicycle safety. The Kenmore City Council set a Target Zero in 2014, which aims to have zero pedestrian and bike accidents or injuries by 2025.
The city has worked toward this goal and by adding 5,000 linear feet of sidewalk since June 2016, 18 new crosswalks and achieving a bronze-level recognition from Walk Friendly Communities and The League of American Bicyclists.
“I know bronze isn’t platinum or gold, but its progress, it’s one increment towards becoming that walkable city,” Karlinsey said. “Just a few years ago we applied for this status and they didn’t give it to us at all but after several years of progress and the things we’ve been doing, they gave us bronze level status. So we’re pretty thrilled about that.”
Karlinsey went on to outline the West Sammamish Bridge replacement, which will be largest single project the city has ever completed and include sidewalk expansions, a lookout point and dedicated bike lanes.
Additionally, Karlinsey mentioned the Lodge at Saint Edward State Park, which is currently under development to become a national park-style lodge, and listed off new restaurants that are coming to Kenmore. The Guest House opened on the same day as the address and welcomed Mayor David Baker as their first guest, and the Seaplane Bar and Grill is currently under construction adjacent to the Town Square and Hangar.
Karlinsey concluded his address with talks on the Lakepointe property, which sits where the Sammamish River meets Lake Washington.
“This peice of property has so much potential but it has languished as an undeveloped industrial site for decades,” Karlinsey said. “Multiple developers over the years have tried and failed to get this project off the ground. Why? Because it has extraordinary costs associated with it.”
These costs are caused by the soil, which is unstable because of its previous use as a WSDOT landfill when Interstate 5 was under construction.
Currently, the city is working with the latest developer to create a project plan that will work financially for the developer and have the smallest impact on the community and the traffic.
“That is going to be super hard, but I think it’s doable,” Karlinsey said. “This (project) is years in the making and I think best-case scenario, if it all went well, they’ll be breaking ground in the early 2020s, but my guess is more like the mid-2020s. So it’s still a long way off, but there is progress.”
Karlinsey received a standing ovation from all attendees. The chamber will host the State of the City Of Bothell address on March 19.