2014 is a year of newness | Council Corner

By Randy Lord, Council President | Jan 15, 2014

Happy New Year! It's now 2014 – a brand new year that brings with it many opportunities, and a time for reflection.

I thought I'd spend a few minutes about what the new year means to me, the council, and the city of Mukilteo, and some ideas on what we can expect to see in the coming year.

New electeds

We have just voted in two new councilmembers, Bob Champion and Ted Wheeler, as well as our new mayor, Jennifer Gregerson. Congratulations to the three of you!

Your new ideas and perspectives will be valuable as we integrate your inputs into our evolving plans and activities. I look forward to working with you and the rest of council (Linda Grafer, Steve Schmalz and Emily Vanderwielen) as we continue to address the many needs of our city.

There was still one open position that we needed to fill (now that Jennifer Gregerson is the mayor), and I was delighted and honored to see that 11 outstanding people stepped up for consideration.

We held our marathon interviewing session at our Monday council meeting, and I am proud to say that we have made our selection. Our new seventh councilmember is Chris Cook! Congratulations, Chris! You are a welcome addition to our team.

My goal for this year is that the entire council engage in vigorous, spirited debate, all the while demonstrating respect and civility for each other, staff and the mayor. We have lots to do; let's do it well.

And, to the applicants: Although only one of you was selected, we’ve all discovered 10 more highly dedicated and passionate citizens, willing and able to contribute to making this even a better city (and trust us, we have your number and know where to find you!).

I want to thank each of you for volunteering to serve our city and our citizens. This excellent turnout is consistent with my earlier observations that Mukilteo is blessed with citizens that really care about our home and want to contribute to make things better.

Even though we are a relatively small town, we have big ideas, and we have proven again and again that we know how to bring those ideas home. I encourage the others to continue to contribute to improving Mukilteo.

New waterfront

Earlier this fall, I was thrilled to witness the transfer of the Tank Farm property from the U.S. Air Force to the Port of Everett – a significant milestone (after decades of effort) that can now allow the property to be cleaned up, then eventually developed to support the new NOAA research facility, the new ferry terminal and the expanded train station.

We can't lose sight that, even though these are all regional projects, the citizens of Mukilteo can't be ignored while all this is going on.

We will work to improve pedestrian safety in and around Lighthouse Park and Mukilteo Speedway, as well as provide pedestrian and vehicle access to Edgewater Park, while maintaining pedestrian continuity to the other Mukilteo sites, such as the Lighthouse and Lighthouse Park.

There is much to do in the coming months and years, and we must continue to maintain a seat at the table, to ensure that our voices are being heard.

New park

Right before the end of the year, Mukilteo was able to secure the final 98 acres of Japanese Gulch! After years of dreaming, I still have a hard time believing it has actually come true!

To prove this is was a truly regional effort, we've enjoyed years of financial and personal support from our state, county and city elected officials, in addition to volunteer organizations and private citizens – all singularly focused on protecting this magnificent treasure, right in our back yard.

Our next steps are to work with the city of Everett to de-annex the property to annex it into Mukilteo, then rezone it as parkland.

Imagine what we will be able to do one day – walk into upper Japanese Gulch Park at the Community Garden, and walk on city parkland all the way down to the waterfront to Edgewater Park, then along the water to Lighthouse Park.

I also expect we will be able to observe salmon entering a daylighted Japanese Gulch Creek to spawn upstream. Let's hold that vision, continuing our efforts to achieve that goal.

New contract

Earlier this month, the Boeing machinists narrowly approved the new contract, ensuring the 777X wing and airplane would be assembled in Puget Sound.

Without researching the actual terms of the contract, I understand it was a very difficult decision for them to make.

Since Mukilteo is a significant bedroom community for many Boeing employees and support businesses, I know that Mukilteo goes as Boeing goes – if much of the production and engineering were to leave Boeing Everett, Mukilteo would be severely impacted, even devastated.

Therefore, I want to take the time to thank the many machinists for making this personal sacrifice for the long-term good of the millions of people in our region.

It is one thing for our elected state officials to offer tax incentives (by giving away money they collected from all of us), but it is much more personal for a small group to agree that they will give money from their own pocket.

Winston Churchill's famous quote comes to mind, "Never was so much owed by so many to so few." For that, I thank you.

We still need to be vigilant, though. We must continue to protect Paine Field from commercial expansion, to further support Boeing's production efforts and preserve our quality of lives.

New inputs

You've been reading of my thoughts – now it's your turn. After discussing our future plans, I'd like to hear of your ideas. Old Town, Mid-town, Harbour Pointe, and the Bev-Ed neighborhoods – what are you concerned about? What are you interested in?

Please feel free to contact me at my city email at rlord@ci.mukilteo.wa.us. Together, we can continue to make things even better in our little town by the sea.

Now, let's keep going Seahawks! Let’s get through this San Francisco this weekend, then all the way to a Superbowl victory!

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