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Mayor's Newsletter for December 19, 2019

Mayor's Newsletter for December 19, 2019

My final newsletter

As I write my final newsletter as the mayor of Renton, I cannot help but feel that a dozen years passed by very fast. 

A lot has taken place in our community during that time, some that I mentioned in a newsletter last month. Sorry for repeating myself, but it’s always fun to brag about some of our successes.

What a tremendous opportunity to serve four years on the city council and 12 years in this position! I’ve been honored to work with a dedicated and talented group of department administrators and city employees, all committed to providing a high level of quality service to our residents and businesses. I will truly miss working with them every day.

We have accomplished a lot over the past decade. The city doubled in size to a population of over 104,000 people. We survived the Great Recession and came out of it financially strong.

We changed how we conduct business, focusing on improving efficiencies and overall productivity with fewer resources. A good deal of effort was placed in changing the workforce culture, emphasizing the importance and benefits of having quality management and leadership principles that value employees for their efforts and service. At times, the journey was difficult and painful, but in the end, we developed a workplace environment where providing quality service to our customers has become routine. 

We made a commitment to become an inclusive city, breaking down racial and cultural barriers and creating a welcoming community for everybody. Renton has been a leader in this region in establishing a culture where we embrace and celebrate our diversity. There is a lot more to do, but our accomplishments to date have been impressive.

Renton became a leader in providing police services, addressing crime issues and building positive relationships between our residents and our police officers. We made a major commitment to enhancing code enforcement throughout the city and experienced great success. These efforts were supported by multiple departments working together to solve issues that were affecting the community.

We strengthened our enforcement tactics and developed new ordinances to address chronic issues. We targeted and shut down a number of dangerous, nuisance properties that were creating a hazard to the public, including drug houses, local bars and rental properties that fostered illegal activity. In addition, we launched a successful anti-graffiti initiative.

We have improved our major roadways, updated utilities and other infrastructure, and are in the process of making significant improvements to our parks and trail system. We introduced new community activities to a list of already popular events that help make Renton a fun place to live and work. Cruz the Loop has returned!

To address a growing homeless crisis, we collaborated with local churches to create a day-shelter at city hall to provide vital services to homeless women and children. We also worked with local groups to support meal programs, evening shelter for homeless, and a program specific to homeless men through ARISE.

Following a tragic accident where a bicyclist killed an elderly woman on the Cedar River Trail, we instituted new safety rules and ordinances to reduce hazards to the thousands of trail users. We started a Ranger Program, staffed with volunteers, to create a visible deterrent to violators and act as park ambassadors by providing information to the public.

In partnership with seven other cities in south King County, we built a new, state-of-the-art municipal jail with a capacity to house up to 800 inmates. In addition to a well-trained corrections staff, this jail incorporated a medical and dental wing to assist prisoners with issues, as well as a drug treatment program to support inmates while in custody and when released from the facility.

We strengthened our long-standing partnerships with Renton School District, business community, Valley Medical Center and Renton Technical College. This included a partnership with the school district and the local business community to build the Meadow Crest Inclusive playground. In addition, we developed a successful partnership with former Seahawk Doug Baldwin, the school district and the local business community to fund a $15 million community center to serve the Cascade/Benson Hill neighborhood.

Developers have invested billions of dollars in Renton, and hundreds of millions in new projects are on the drawing board. In addition to adding thousands of new jobs, Renton is now headquarters to the largest healthcare providers in the nation. Redevelopment of the downtown and the Sunset Neighborhood are well underway and in addition to The Landing, new Hyatt Hotel and Southport office campus, Top Golf is poised to build a facility in the same area along with another hotel. There are other exciting projects on the drawing board that we cannot disclose at this time.

Our city still faces some significant regional challenges including affordable housing for middle class families, transportation issues that take a heavy toll on the quality of life for daily commuters, and managing the impact of anticipated growth.

Renton has become a desired place to live, work, learn and play. Congratulations and best wishes to mayor-elect Armondo Pavone and the new members of the city council.

Feedback

Comments, questions or suggestions, or just want to share all the great things that are happening in the city, please email me.

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