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Renton Mayor Denis Law Delivers 2008 State of the City Address

March 19, 2008

For more information contact:

Preeti Shridhar, Communications Director 425-430-6569

Mayor Announces Community Planning Initiative, Emphasis on Code Enforcement, Public Safety, Neighborhood Revitalization, Economic Development and Housing Affordability

RENTON: Renton Mayor Denis Law delivered his 2008 State of the City address before a packed audience at a luncheon organized by the Renton Chamber of Commerce.  With an emphasis on effectiveness, efficiency and accountability, the state of the city highlighted the city’s recent accomplishments and outlined new programs and initiatives.

“We will work to be effective, while emphasizing greater accountability and efficiency at City Hall”, said Mayor Law. “We will focus on results and clearly demonstrate to our citizens what we are accomplishing on their behalf.”

The mayor recognized the contributions of the City Council and their untiring commitment to serve the city.

 “I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with an outstanding City Council—devoted  to making policy that protects and improves the quality of life for our citizens,” said Law.

The address highlighted Renton’s recent annexation of the Benson Hill area and emphasized the city’s commitment to high quality service to all residents. As of March 1, 2008, Renton has grown by over 25 percent and has nearly 77,000 residents, making it the fifth largest city in King County and the 11th largest in Washington State. The Mayor also mentioned the city’s solid financial foundation and highlighted Renton’s economic future and growth opportunities. Renton’s assessed valuation has increased almost 100 percent over the last seven years, from $5.0 billion in 2001 to $9.5 billion in 2008. Renton’s vibrant economy is expected to continue to expand. Renton’s expected increase in total taxable retail sales is among the highest in the region and was at over 7% in 2007. Growth in Renton’s housing stock and retail spending has far outpaced comparable measures for King County and the Puget Sound economy. New construction in the city has been between two and three times the regional average over the past three years.

The Mayor also highlighted the enormous success of The Boeing Company. Boeing has had another record year for the Renton-built 737, which enjoyed its strongest sales year last year. Unfilled orders exceed 1,900 airplanes, worth more than $140 billion at list prices, according to Boeing. Produced in Renton, the Boeing 737 is by far the most successful jet in the history of commercial aviation. Boeing’s Renton operations provide 20,000 jobs to our area.

The mayor stressed the importance of partnerships and acknowledged several community members who were present for the address, including representatives from the Renton Chamber of Commerce, the Renton School District, Renton Technical College, Valley Medical Center, and local business leaders.

“Renton has a grand tradition of partnerships,” said Law. “We have long worked together to get things done that would not have been possible to do alone. The key to our future as a city lies in our ability to harness the power of partnerships and work together to meet the challenges ahead and build a stronger community.”

The mayor highlighted several accomplishments. These include:

  • The successful annexation of the Benson Hill communities and the city being ready on March 1, 2008 to provide the highest levels of service to over 16,000 new residents—from  sweeping the streets to providing fire and emergency services to Benson Hill and Fairwood.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank opened for business in Renton and the Seahawks will be coming to Renton this summer. Several companies will be opening new facilities in Renton this year including Frontier Bank, Columbia Bank, several auto dealers and others.
  • The Landing, one of Renton’s largest retail and residential projects, has already contributed over $700,000 in revenues from construction and retail sales tax.
  • Successful partnership with the Highlands Task Force and community and working together on redevelopment in the neighborhood.
    Completion of several major capital improvement and infrastructure projects including railroad bridges, street improvements and safety upgrades in school zones.
  • Increased traffic safety emphasis in neighborhoods.
  • During Renton Heart Month--twice as many blood sugar and blood pressure screenings and notification to 500 people with high blood pressure and 100 with high blood sugar readings.
  • Completion of Heritage Park, improvements to facilities at Teasdale and Kiwanis Parks and new lighting at the skate park and aquatic center; master plan for the libraries; began the master plan for the museum; several successful community events and celebrations.

The mayor announced several key initiatives. These include:

  • Community Planning Initiative:
    Foster a partnership with the community to help shape the city’s future and provide input for the city’s comprehensive plan and supporting policies.
  • Housing Affordability:
    Revise the existing multi-family housing incentive program to provide additional tax exemption for projects that include affordable and low income housing. Establish a housing opportunity fund of $200,000 to support affordable housing in Renton.
  • Code Enforcement:
    Under the leadership of the Police Chief, create a new inter-departmental code-enforcement initiative to ensure measurable results in code enforcement.
  • Highlands, Downtown and South Lake Washington:
    Continue to focus resources to revitalize the Highlands, downtown Renton and South Lake Washington.
  • Public Safety:
    Partner with other cities to build a regional misdemeanant correctional facility; emphasize safety in downtown, the Highlands and other neighborhoods. Continue emphasis on emergency preparedness and the city’s readiness to respond.
  • Economic Development:
    Expand the resources and role of the Small Business Development Center; pursue redevelopment efforts; work with The Boeing Company to encourage them to keep Boeing commercial airplane production in Renton.
  • Transportation and Infrastructure:
    Improvements to Duvall Avenue NE and Rainier Avenue; installing new sidewalks; advocating for regional transportation funding and improvements.
  • Environment:
    Emphasize environmental responsibility—from reducing paper-waste in city operations to incorporating green and resource-efficient features in new city facilities; review development regulations to ensure environmental considerations. 
  • Diversity:
    Continue celebrations that showcase our diverse communities; work with our community partners to plan a city-wide diversity celebration.

“Our city has much going for it, and together we have accomplished a great deal,” said Law.  “The future for Renton is bright and the city looks forward to our continued partnerships that make this a great place to live, learn, work and raise our families”.

To read the mayor’s state of the city message, please visit http://rentonwa.gov.