The new green that comes with spring reminds me of how Kenmore has grown and changed over the years. While change isn’t always easy, if we plan for and lead change while seizing the right opportunities, Kenmore can thrive and continue on an upward trajectory. Looking back over recent years, we can see some examples of how this trajectory is indeed pointing in an upward direction:
• Over $70 million of new private sector investment in the “bull’s eye” of our downtown. Attracting private sector reinvestment is a big part of our downtown plan, and the area formerly known as Kenmore Village now contains the relocated and expanded Kenmore Camera, Spencer68 Apartments and Lofts, and the LINQ commercial and residential building. And there’s more planned with a building pad reserved for a future sit-down restaurant on the west side of the new Town Square and more parking and a commercial building planned along 68th Avenue between the LINQ and the Town Square.
• More than $40 million of transportation and parks grants acquired since 2013. These grants have or will help fund such projects as replacement of the 80-year-old 68th Avenue bridge across the Sammamish River, Bothell Way sidewalk and aesthetic improvements, Safe Routes to Schools sidewalks, Moorlands Park improvements, our new Town Square, our new Skate Park at City Hall, and public waterfront access.
• Completion of the amazing 73rd Avenue Kenmore History Mural by local artists and community volunteers.
• Over 17,500 feet of new sidewalks and more than 15,500 feet of new bike lanes installed since 2014; and about 15,000 more feet of sidewalks funded and to be constructed in the next several years. In addition, the City has installed 18 new “rectangular rapid flashing beacons” on arterial crosswalks since 2014.
• 84 neighborhood traffic safety improvements installed in the last year. After asking residents what traffic safety improvements they would like to see in their neighborhoods, the City recently installed 84 neighborhood improvements such as directional signage, added street lighting, new crosswalks, and traffic calming devices such as speed humps.
• New safety and aesthetic improvements on the “West A” segment (61st to 65th Avenue) of Bothell Way in 2016. The City took the lead on acquiring funding and renovating this key section of Bothell Way. This complex project added new sidewalks and landscaped medians, undergrounded utilities, widened bus lanes, improved traffic channelization, and enhanced the aesthetics of what many consider Kenmore’s front door step.
• Voter approval of the Walkways and Waterways bond measure. We very much appreciate the community’s support in passage of Kenmore Proposition 1 last fall. This measure will fund new sidewalks and bike lanes on Juanita Drive and 68th Avenue. In addition, Log Boom, Rhododendron, and Squire’s Landing parks will see waterfront access improvements. Thanks to a 64 percent yes vote from our residents, design and engineering for all of these projects is now underway, and we expect to see them constructed in the coming years.
• AAA bond rating. Passage of Kenmore’s Proposition 1 last November caused the City to seek a bond rating from the financial sector. Soon thereafter, Standard & Poor’s gave the City a AAA bond rating—the highest rating possible. This rating is a vote of confidence to our strong financial condition as a city.
There are many more signs that Kenmore is on an upward trajectory, but there is not enough room in this column. We don’t always get it right 100 percent of the time, but we do our best to learn and keep moving onward and upward. We thank you, our community, for making all of this possible. Our downtown and our city as a whole continues to be a work in progress—there is so much more to do!
Thanks to engaged and caring citizens and local businesses who come forward with great ideas, Kenmore will continue onward and upward. We welcome your comments and involvement. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
David Baker is the mayor of Kenmore.