Mayor's Update - Plunging Into 2023

Mayor's Update - Plunging Into 2023
Posted on 01/06/2023
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The City of Renton's Mayor's LoogPeriodically I will provide a mayor’s perspective on news items of importance to Renton residents.

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Friday, January 6, 2023

Number 22

Cover Image for teh January 6, 2023 Mayor's Update

Happy New Year!

This season is a time to look forward to the new year and reflect on the past year and what we've accomplished.

Here at the city, we took time to look back at 2022 because last year set the groundwork for several exciting projects, which you will see in 2023.

Photo of Mayor's visit to Family First Community Center

I recently toured the under construction Family First Community Center along with Parks and Recreation project manager Russ Woodruff (left) and Public Works Administrator Martin Pastucha (right).

We broke ground at the Family First Community Center about one year ago. We're now almost one month from the grand opening. The center will bring essential services and programs to the Cascade/Benson Hill neighborhood. It's also an excellent example of how the public and private sectors can work together to benefit a community. I'm excited about the opportunities the center will bring to our community. I'm also very grateful for the contributions of our partners, HeathPoint, First Financial Northwest Foundation, Renton School District, and Doug Baldwin's Family First Foundation.

This year will see two new educational programs open in Renton. First, the tuition-free Bezos Academy will call the North Highlands Neighborhood Center home. In addition, an Environmental Science Center will be housed in the main building at Liberty Park.

Our work will continue to ensure downtown Renton is a "drive-to, not drive-through" destination. The downtown just earned Main Street designation giving businesses access to resources and tax credits. We've also received federal funding to apply to the design and permitting process as we repurpose the Renton Pavilion Event Center space into Logan Street Market, an active and inclusive public space with room to support small businesses, especially women- and minority-owned businesses and those representing historically disadvantaged communities.

Your safety will continue as a priority in 2023. Chief Schuldt and the men and women of the Renton Police Department will have access to the technology, tools, and staffing necessary to perform their duties safely and professionally.

Funds generated by House Bill 1590 will continue to support housing and homelessness initiatives. FDCARES, a collaboration between Renton Police Department and Renton Regional Fire Authority, is one such program. It provides our first responders with new resources when responding to mental health and addiction calls. FDCARES also helps people navigate health and mental health care systems and connects them to social services and substance use treatment.

We are also using HB1590 funds to develop affordable housing. We've already earmarked $1.5 million for Sunset Gardens, a 77-unit Renton Housing Authority (RHA) project. RHA also secured $8 million in public funding with our help. In addition, our Equity, Housing, and Human Services Department is actively working to identify additional programs.

Residents will see us focusing more on community engagement. We'll add staff in several departments and link existing software to better utilize data. Finally, we'll receive the results of our community survey. These steps are all designed to anticipate the needs of our community.

These are just a few projects we're excited to introduce in 2023. I'll be back periodically to update our progress.


Graphic: Snow reposnse statistics for December 2022

Responding to December’s severe weather

I am incredibly proud of the city's response during December's unprecedented snow and ice storm.

Our public works street maintenance division and first responders deserve our thanks for their immediate and comprehensive response.

Working overlapping 12 shifts from Dec. 19-24, street maintenance crews plowed 6,391 roadway miles, applied 8,500 gallons of anti-icer over 1,570 miles, and spread 100 tons of sand and salt.

We received this from a resident of Renton Hill:

I just wanted to say "Thank You" to you and all the wonderful folks working to keep the roads clear. The de-icer trucks, the sand trucks and the plows, all have been so appreciated. I live on Renton Hill and wouldn't be able to get out and about without your hard work. You are all the Best!! Thank you very much!

Sometimes we take their work for granted, especially if neighborhood streets do not receive immediate attention. Yet, because of their skill, dedication, and professionalism, our streets remain passable for our residents and members of the Renton Police Department and Renton Regional Fire Authority.

Our first responders, who worked through cold, ice, and snow to provide needed emergency services, also deserve our thanks.

Our Equity, Housing, and Human Services Department, in conjunction with REACH (Renton Ecumenical Association of Churches), opened the Severe Weather Shelter for five nights, Dec. 18-22. It provided 83 individuals with a warm place to stay. It was open eight nights in late November-early December and served 215 individuals. The shelter has separate sleeping spaces for individuals and families. In addition, REACH staff provides warm beverages, sleeping pads, and snacks.

To help, our Parks and Recreation Department turned part of Renton Community Center into a warming center during business hours from Dec. 19-22.

Unprecedented events require a coordinated and impactful response from your city. That's what we saw last month.


Graphic: Mayor and City Councilmembers 2023

City Council reconvenes on Monday 

This Monday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m., Renton City Council convenes for its first meeting of 2023. All council meetings are held at the council chambers in city hall.

All seven council members return and look forward to building on the momentum that started last year. We are at our best as a city when our residents get involved. Meetings are on the first four Mondays of the month. If you cannot attend in person, watch live on Channel 21 in Renton or online. We also post them on our website. Each meeting includes an audience comment period. Residents are also encouraged to email me thoughts, questions, and issues to explore.

Previous Mayor's Updates

  • August 4, 2022 - South King County mayors frustrated with rise in crime and violence
  • November 5, 2021 - Renton’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion leads to several impactful initiatives
  • October 1, 2021 - Human Services Funding: City Council increases Human Services budget almost three-fold; approves three projects through HB 1590
  • August 31, 2021 - Solera is the cornerstone of our ongoing redevelopment of the Sunset area
  • June 22, 2021 - Support Housing: Mayor Pavone and county executive announce Renton hotel is part of Health Through Housing initiative

  • December 18, 2020 - City Council passes emergency ordinance for interim zoning controls

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