As we start our new year and the national spotlight has recently been on government, it’s easy to become disgruntled.
Now is a great time to look back on 2018 and reflect on everything our community has accomplished! In 2018, we celebrated our 20th anniversary as a city and saw some achievements that are the direct result of our planning and policies. The Hangar is bustling with playgroups, teen gaming, sewing groups, book clubs, you name it. Our plan to create a new downtown and Kenmore’s very own “sense of place” took a leap forward in 2018 with the new Seaplane Kitchen & Bar in downtown Kenmore — just as we planned and platted.
You’ve probably seen construction start for the FlyWay, a mixed-use building between The LINQ and The Hangar. This new building will be the next piece of Kenmore’s downtown plan, with almost 6,000 square feet total of street-level commercial space along 68th Avenue Northeast. It is expected to open by early 2020 with about 25 residential units above the retail and office space, with more surface and a daylight parking garage below.
As always, we balanced our two-year budget for 2019-20, but this time was more difficult than others. As a residential community, Kenmore’s budget is reliant on property taxes, which has a state-imposed growth limit of one percent per year. As costs of doing business rise faster than revenues, we may be faced with the reality of a structural budget deficit as soon as 2021. As we try to keep costs down while not impacting any services, we will welcome your input as we explore different options.
In 2018, we also passed an ordinance to reduce plastic bags and we continued work to protect wildlife habitats. I am proud of the Planning Commission efforts to thoroughly study our mobile home park communities and evaluate ways to protect our residents.
Stay tuned in 2019 to see The Lodge restoration unfold, the opening of our first ballfield at Moorlands Park, more progress with Walkways and Waterways projects and more work on pedestrian and bicycle safety. If the effects of the recent federal government shutdown don’t stop us from proceeding, the West Sammamish River bridge replacement on 68th Avenue Northeast could get underway this year. We will also work more on policies to confront affordable housing and homelessness.
As elected officials, our primary job is to serve our community and make life in Kenmore better. We always welcome your involvement — stay connected by subscribing to our email updates at www.kenmorewa.gov/stayinformed.
David Baker is the mayor of Kenmore.