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Renton Mayor Denis Law Delivers 2013 State of the City Address

March 6, 2013

For more information contact:
Preeti Shridhar,
Deputy Public Affairs Administrator 425-430-6569

“Our foundation is strong. Our commitment to excellence is unwavering.”

RENTON: Renton Mayor Denis Law delivered his 2013 State of the City address today before a packed audience at a luncheon organized by the Renton Chamber of Commerce. The State of the City address emphasized how the city has focused on more efficient ways of doing business, while maintaining the quality of our city – protecting the public and maintaining parks and trails, our roadways, and needed utilities.

“The past several years have had a similar theme – finding new ways to provide city services with less revenue and fewer people,” said Mayor Law. “At City Hall, our employees stepped up to the challenges and today, I want to brag a little about what we have accomplished as a city despite significantly reduced resources.”

The mayor stated that during the past five years, Renton’s population has grown 67% from 56,000 to nearly 94,000 and, despite a 15% reduction in the city’s workforce, the quality and range of services the city provides has remained unmatched.
“We’ve been able to make great progress in identifying new efficiencies to improve productivity, primarily due to employees committed to finding better ways to serve the public,” said Law.

He highlighted his priorities to cultivate a workplace culture that supports these ideals and the city’s commitment to the public. A workplace where:

  • The management team provides the vision, leadership, training and support necessary to motivate staff at every level.
  • Employees are constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to developing new and creative ways of conducting business.
  • There is a strong culture of effectively solving issues for citizens.

The mayor highlighted several accomplishments and priorities:

Planning, Infrastructure and Investment

  • The city has received nearly $85 million in grants for infrastructure and investments for roads, utilities, parks and trails, public safety, and maintenance.
  • City Center Community Plan, and the city’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Areas Plan that earned the governor’s Smart Vision Award.
  • First comprehensive recycling program in this region and have diverted nearly 25,000 tons of recyclable material from the landfill.
  • Significant capital projects including Rainier Avenue improvements, Strander Boulevard Connection, nearly $25 million in utility system improvements, improvements to Renton Municipal Airport totaling $1.1 million in capital and $10 million in grants, and development of Heritage Park.
  • Renton Municipal Airport is undergoing the most extensive infrastructure improvements since 1950.

Public Safety

  • The city’s police officers and firefighters have continued to provide great service for Renton residents and the business community.
  • Created unique ordinances that allow officers to ban offenders from parks and the transit center in addition to increasing surveillance and police patrols.
  • Addressed safety issues in our parks and trails by reducing speed limits; adding striping, signage, and educational brochures; and by instituting a volunteer park ranger program.
  • The Council adopted a new ordinance to deal with property owners and landlords where illegal activity continues to occur.
  • In light of the recent massacre in a school in Connecticut, the city is working closely with the Renton School District to find effective ways to improve safety for our children.
  • The Renton Police department will soon launch an Adopt-A School program designed to foster and strengthen the relationships between schools and police officers.
  • Since 2005, as part of Renton Heart Month, the city’s firefighters have checked the blood pressure and blood sugar levels of 45,000 individuals, providing early detection warning to 6,400 people that were at risk of high blood pressure and 2,000 people with hyperglycemia or excess glucose in the blood.

Partnerships

  • Strong partnership with The Boeing Company continues—they plan to produce over 42 airplanes a month and hire 600 to 800 people this year.
  • Working with the Aerospace Futures Alliance, Renton Technical College and other partners to establish the Central Sound Aerospace Training Center at the Renton Municipal Airport. This $12.5 million training center will provide hundreds of people with the skills they need to work in the aerospace industry.
  • Enjoyed a tremendous season with the Seahawks - over a thousand fans gathered at City Hall to support the team as they headed for the play-offs. In addition Seahawks training camp brought 20,000 visitors to Renton.
  • With the Renton Housing Authority, the Renton School District, King County Library System, and Colpitts Development, achieved major milestones in the Sunset area. Completed construction of the Glenwood Townhomes, working on Kirkland Avenue Townhomes, and plans are underway for a new library.
  • With the Renton School District and the financial contributions of several businesses, service organizations and private donors, will soon complete an accessible playground at the new Meadow Crest Early Learning Center in the Highlands.
  • In collaboration with Puget Sound Access, Carco Theatre will expand services to the public and provide several enhancements and state-of-the art multi-media services.
  • In partnership with the Renton Ecumenical Association of Churches, providing a day shelter for homeless women and children at City hall

An All-Inclusive City

  • Created a network of community leaders representing the diversity of our city; these community liaisons provide a vital link between community groups and the city.
  • Emergency preparedness training with over 1000 preparedness videos distributed to various non-English members of our community.
  • Free summer lunch programs to children from minority groups; various cultural exhibits at Renton Museum.
  • Community forums on various topics including crime prevention, emergency preparedness, and public sector careers.
  • Appointed members from community liaisons to serve on key citizen task forces for the city.

Economic Development and Quality of Life

  • New businesses continue to open at The Landing and the high-end apartment complexes there have more than 90% occupancy.
  • Investments continue in downtown Renton despite losing some businesses – the Berliner Pub and Marianna’s are two new restaurants that have opened recently.
  • Large-scale development opportunities are under discussion for Southport and Port Quendall.
  • Neighborhood program now serves 70 neighborhoods and provides a critical link between the city and thousands of residents.
  • Record attendance at Farmers Market and festivals including IKEA Renton River Days, 4th of July, Return to Renton Car Show, Clam Lights, Oktoberfest, and the Seattle International Film Festival.

“Our local economy is on the rebound,” said Law. “Renton is positioned well to take advantage of these new opportunities.”

“The state of Renton is very good,” said Law. “Our foundation is strong. Our commitment to excellence is unwavering. Our future is bright.” 

The Mayor’s address will be broadcast on Renton’s TV channel 21 and video-streamed on rentonwa.gov. Click here for the broadcast schedule. To read the Mayor’s State of the City message, please visit rentonwa.gov.