Kenmore community will celebrate as it turns 10

The city of Kenmore will celebrate its first decade of existence Aug. 30, one day before the town’s official 10th birthday.

The city of Kenmore will celebrate its first decade of existence Aug. 30, one day before the town’s official 10th birthday.

Festivities are scheduled to take place at Log Boom Park from 4-10 p.m.

The event features face painting, a chalk-art contest, inflatable play structures and a video documentary about the community, as well as information, food and activity booths.

Topping things off is a 10-minute fireworks presentation, followed by a viewing of the movie “Ratatouille.”

“The support of the Kenmore community is the reason the city is able to celebrate its 10th anniversary,” said city of Kenmore spokeswoman Leslie Harris. “A large group of dedicated residents spent countless hours communicating with residents the benefits of becoming a city.”

Residents and businesspeople from what is now the Kenmore area had pursued incorporation six times between 1950 and 1970.

Each attempt was unsuccessful.

It wasn’t until 1996 that voters — faced with pressure from the Growth Management Act — decided that their community should be undivided and self-governing.

Residents elected a city council, and the new municipality began conducting business in an empty storefront Aug. 31, 1998.

Jack Crawford became the town’s first mayor, establishing himself as a sort of George Washington figure.

“If we hadn’t been successful with incorporation, half of this town would be in Lake Forest Park, and the other half would be in Bothell,” Crawford said. “Either that, or someone in downtown Seattle would be making decisions for us.

“I think we did pretty well in terms of our reputation with other cities. We became kind of a poster child for how to get a city started.”

One of the first orders of business for the new city was securing funds for a State Route 522 improvement project.

Kenmore was in need of some fast cash at the time, as it was unable to collect taxes for the first six months of existence due to the state incorporation guidelines.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) quickly awarded the city with a $1 million grant for work on SR 522.

“We went begging for money over at the WSDOT headquarters in Shoreline, and we got it,” Crawford said.

The city also went to work acquiring the Wells Fargo building for use as a new City Hall.

“Those two big financial deals speak to how a city gets started,” Crawford said.

The city initially adopted King County regulations, and is still in the process of implementing its own bylaws.

Sometimes that means revising the old rules.

Other times it means getting rid of them, as the City Council did with a regulation forbidding residents from riding side saddle on motorcycles.

Kenmore today has a number of annual events intended to foster a sense of community among residents.

There’s the annual fireworks show, the Summer Concerts in the Park series and the Good Ol’ Days festival.

But Crawford claims that Kenmore’s community spirit dates beyond the city’s incorporation date

“As far as the community is concerned, this is a 100-year city, and there are a lot of people who care about it,” he said. “We live in a beautiful area.”