Dozens of residents made their way to Kenmore City Hall earlier this month to participate in “For the Love of Kenmore: To the Next Level.”
The workshop was led by community-building expert Peter Kageyama, who is known for his books “For the Love of Cities” and “Love Where You Live.” He came to Kenmore two years ago for the initial “For the Love of Kenmore” event, and before he spoke for the second workshop, Kenmore City Manager Rob Karlinsey recapped all of the related initiatives the city has participated in since the first event.
Those initiatives include the June 2015 Downtown Block Party (with another planned this summer to celebrate the opening of the Hangar Building), the living history mural on the side of the St. Vincent de Paul building, painted fire hydrants, the Kenmore Air Seaplane Fly-In, planned beautification of the CalPortland silos and heron-shaped bike racks.
In his remarks following Karlinsey’s presentation, Kageyama praised the mural project.
“This is pretty epic and incredibly well done,” he said. “I’m so impressed with what you guys have done in the last couple years.”
Throughout the citizen workshop, Kageyama emphasized how fun and creativity can truly add to a city’s identity.
“Fun things have costs, but they also have a value,” he said. “Things have a value beyond the purely financial.”
To start the workshop, participants were invited to share what they already love about Kenmore, and responses overwhelmingly favored the natural features of the city, including St. Edward State Park, the Burke-Gilman Trail, Log Boom Park and Rhododendron Park.
Kageyama also discussed the concept of psychic centers, places that people immediately think about when they think about a city. Participants were asked to identify Kenmore’s psychic centers, which included all of the beloved natural areas listed above, Kenmore’s “brewery row,” Starbucks, Bastyr University and the new Hangar Building.
For the final activity of the workshop, participants were asked to brainstorm ideas for ways to improve the identified psychic centers. The ideas included adding a communal seating area off of the Burke-Gilman Trail near the breweries, putting a disc golf course at St. Edward State Park, holding a concert at Lakepointe and investing in a large Hank Heron inflatable to use at community events.
In addition to the event for citizens, Kageyama also participated in a business-focused event with the Kenmore Business Alliance and a special session with the Kenmore City Council during his recent visit. He also met with different stakeholder groups while he was in Kenmore.
“The whole idea we had was to take this conversation to another level,” Kageyama said during the council meeting.
During his visit, Kageyama was able to tour the city’s new Hangar Building and said he was looking forward to coming back when it opens to the public.
“I think the Hangar is brilliant,” he said. “What a fantastic love note this is going to be for your community. … This will be an absolute game changer.”
He suggested the addition of a small board game library to make the space more welcoming.
Springboarding off of the second “For the Love of Kenmore” citizen workshop, Kenmore Community Relations Manager Leslie Harris is starting a micro grant program for the city.
The grants would be small, one-time-only, cash awards given to community groups or individuals for their short-term community projects.
At a March meeting, the Kenmore City Council allocated $5,000 to pilot the program for the 2017-18 biennium. Specific details of the program have yet to be worked out, but Harris said she will present an outline of the program to council in May.