Stand together to make Mukilteo even stronger in 2017 | Mayor's Message
Each year, I have shared an action agenda with our community – the goals and initiatives that I will focus on. Well, this year at the very top in bold, purple letters is my top priority: Mukilteo Strong.
I want to thank the City Council for providing the funds we will need for this important work – to plan a Peace Park, together as a community, so we can remember those we have lost and work together to spread peace and compassion in their memory.
We will also work to improve recreational opportunities for our young adults, to confront the loneliness and isolation that too many feel, and bring our community closer together. And, led by our new School Resource Officer, we will build stronger partnerships with our schools, our community organizations and our families so that we can nurture and support healthy kids.
While these actions alone cannot solve every problem or prevent every act of violence, I am committed to ensuring that we do as much as we can, for as many as we can.
Three years ago, in my first action agenda, I pledged to form a city employees’ Green Team focused on ensuring that our city is a model of sustainability. Over the last three years, we have done great work – from new recycling bins at Lighthouse Park to a citywide energy challenge that saw us reduce energy use in our buildings by 12 percent last fall compared to the year before.
Now it’s time to take our success story and share it. I will ask our Green Team to help craft a Green Business Certification Program for local businesses that want to join with the city in becoming more sustainable. Reducing energy use, avoiding toxic cleaning products, composting more ¬– these are all great for the bottom line and for our environment.
Last year, I pledged to focus more attention on public safety prevention. We know that the best way to protect our community is to prevent accidents and injuries before they happen. This year, I will ask the chief, Fire Marshal Roger Rudikoff and our entire public safety team to focus on emergency preparedness. We don’t know when the next earthquake or landslide or severe storm will happen, but we do know they will happen. Every one of us needs to have basic supplies and a family readiness plan in place to prepare.
Our focus on prevention-oriented public safety isn’t just about talking to the community about what to do; it also requires us to listen to our community, as well. I am so proud of the amazing work that our crime prevention officers have done these past few years to build and strengthen our police department’s relationship with our whole community. This initiative has taken leadership from the police chief all the way to our patrol officers to build community trust. While our school resource officer works in the school setting, I want all of our officers engaging with our youth to send the right message at an early age: we are here to keep you safe and to help.
From my very first days in office, I have been committed to ensuring that the community is truly at the center of the Rosehill Community Center. Together with the Council, we created the Rosehill Community Board to bring residents together to help set the direction for the center and bring a community voice into the management of this vital asset. We have worked to adjust hours of operation, make more free space available and increase special events. I am grateful to our Rosehill staff for their willingness to think creatively and engage with neighbors, residents and council members.
And, while we have worked to ensure our programming is affordable and widely available, we know from U.S. Census statistics that at least 1,000 Mukilteo residents live below the poverty line and many of our seniors struggle to make ends meet.
Our community center needs to be a vital institution for every member of our community – regardless of how much money they make. So, this year I will work with the Rosehill Community Board and our city staff to raise funds for our new recreation scholarship program.
When I was sworn in as your Mayor three years ago, I promised that we would work together to achieve a vision of a city that is safe, vibrant and sustainable. Over these past three years, we have accomplished a lot to make that vision a reality.
As we look toward 2017, I know we are Mukilteo Strong. I have been so honored to see the strength of those impacted by violence, the compassion of our entire community and the resilience that I know now that we have. Let us continue to stand together as Mukilteo Strong.
Mayor Jennifer Gregerson’s column appears in the Mukilteo Beacon on the second Wednesday of the month. The opinions expressed are her own and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Mukilteo City Council.