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Mayor's Newsletter for June 20, 2019

Mayor's Newsletter for June 20, 2019

Pride Flag Flies Proudly Over Renton

On Monday, members of my staff and the community met in front of City Hall to raise the Pride Flag as part of the Pride Month celebration. This was the first time we have flown the Pride Flag on a city facility and it came in conjunction with a city proclamation recognizing Pride Month in Renton, adopted by the City Council on June 3.

It was very troubling to learn about the ongoing damage that has been taking place on a special display in front of United Christian Church. The latest act this week included using some type of explosive devices to damage a row of painted doors that have the words, “God’s doors are open to all.” The community has rallied behind the church to denounce this vandalism. This case is being investigated by the FBI, and Renton Police are increasing their patrols in the area.

The city has worked hard to help promote and nurture a community that is inclusive and welcoming to everybody. This senseless act will not deter our efforts or commitment toward this goal.

Renton to host Washington’s first Topgolf 

Topgolf, a fast-growing, high-tech sports entertainment company, is coming to Renton. The company already has dozens of locations across the country and in the United Kingdom, but this will be their first full service location in Washington.

They are planning to build a three-story building on a vacant 14-acre parcel near Boeing’s 737 plant and The Landing. The complex will include an outdoor driving range outfield, onsite surface parking and a large outdoor plaza. A second phase of development will consist of a to-be-determined mixed-use component on a little over two and-a-half acres of the property.

Topgolf is just the latest development that further confirms Renton’s standing as one of the fastest growing cities in the state. There have been thousands of new jobs created as the healthcare industry is growing faster here than in any other community. We’re the home to the Hyatt on Lake Washington, one of the finest hotels in the region with two additional hotels just blocks away, and soon Southport will open a 650,000 square foot Class A office campus. We’re also seeing the investment of hundreds of millions of public and private dollars into the revitalization of the downtown and Sunset Neighborhood. 

Transit center site bought by county

Almost four years ago, I sent a letter to King County Executive Dow Constantine advocating a partnership between the city and county to improve public transit to our city. My vison was to build a transit center and parking structure on the former Sound Ford property near the intersection of I-405 and Highway 167 and just west of METRO’s Park & Ride. The idea received full support from the Sound Transit Board and our legislators.

Yesterday, I received word that Sound Transit is purchasing the site and we can proceed with the project.

This is tremendous news and a major milestone for the city. Sound Transit’s commitment becomes the catalyst for several projects were are pursuing that will benefit commuters and re-image our downtown core.
With this new facility, we can proceed with our plan to relocate the downtown transit center to the site. Bus service will still be available to the downtown. Once the center is moved we can continue with our plans to convert one-way streets into two-way streets in the downtown area and closely examine the possible closure of a portion of South Logan Street and expansion of Piazza Park.

Over the years we have repeatedly reminded the Sound Transit Board of the need for better access for our residents to services offered by both Sound Transit and METRO. This exciting news, along with the I-405 Bus Rapid Transit funding news I shared last week, will bring efficiency to transportation issues for our residents.

Ground broken for Kennydale reservoir

I was pleased to be joined Wednesday morning by elected officials, city staff, project staff and Kennydale residents to officially break ground on a new water reservoir in the Kennydale neighborhood.

Kennydale has seen tremendous growth over the past 30 years which has increased demands to the water system. Adding this 1.3 million gallon reservoir will allow for a reliable domestic supply and increase storage capacity for fire protection.

The reservoir is co-located on the site of Fire Station 15, which opened last February. Both projects are the result of a collaboration between the city and Renton Regional Fire Authority. By combining these projects we were able to effectively use tax revenues, saving residents money. 
The project will cost $9.5 million and is funded from utility reserve funds. It is expected to take 12 months to complete.

Celebrate Juneteenth on Saturday

I hope you can join with the community for our celebration of Juneteenth on Saturday at Harambee Church (316 S. Third St.) from 12 to 7 p.m. Admission is free.

Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in our country with the freeing of slaves in Texas. It is a significant milestone in our history.

Several of our pastors from RAAP, the Renton African American Pastoral group, have put together a tremendously educational and entertaining program. The video Civil War and Reconstruction, A Conversation with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will be shown followed by a panel discussion. Attendees will then be taken on a virtual tour of Renton’s African-American sites. The day’s events will conclude with a teen and youth talent show. There will also be displays of African and African-American, courtesy of Renton residents. The workshops will be from 12 to 3 p.m. and the talent show from 4 to 7 p.m.

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