Mayor Ron Harding’s State of the City Address
February 12, 2008
About 100 people attended the Yelm Chamber Forum luncheon, which was one of their largest meetings.
The following summarizes Mayor Harding’s address:
Economic development is the driver of what we can do for a city.
Yelm achieved a 7% growth rate last year.
We (Yelm) are coming into our own as a retail hub, for the South County.
With international chains coming to Yelm like Starbucks & KFC, this shows that there is alot of interest in our growth here.
A. Last year’s idea for a community reader board came to fruition and that board now informs the public on many community service issues in front of City Hall.
B. YESS – Yelm Students Support & Success is a program at City Hall offering career opportunities through internships for students.
Two students are currently in the program engaging the job interview process and working with the city learning and providing support for various aspects of the city’s offices.
C. Longmire Park has been high on the City Council’s list to complete since Mayor Harding became Mayor. The park is now operational with 3 baseball, 1 football & 1 soccer field, a green belt, and playground. This park is more than just about ball fields; rather a place that appeals to the entire family.
The ribbon cutting and dedication will officially be in March, 2008.
D. Yelm’s Police Station & Municipal Court Building is coming to completion and will house new City Council Chambers and Yelm’s Emergency Operations Center. This building was designed to handle Yelm’s needs for 20-30 years and is state-of-the-art. The building will officially open next month.
Further, 3 new police officers and a crime prevention officer have been added to the Yelm Police Dept.
The city established a “vulnerable citizens list” last year as a result of the power outages.
And, with the city looking ahead to the future and anticipated higher real estate prices, the city secured an adjacent property to the Police Station for a future City Hall site.
The structure has been suggested as a place to temporarily house the Yelm Historical Society’s museum and they should be relocated by the end of the year.
The location of these buildings is to become part of the “downtown corridor” and is an important component of working on a package that brings the corridor alive.
A. Transportation is the city’s major priority and Yelm invested $2,500 per capita on transportation projects last year. All of the dollars were derived from development fees and grants. There was no increase in taxes for these projects.
B. Coates Rd. construction is completely funded for improvements similar to Stevens St West (sidewalks, curbs, etc.) and this artery continues a connection on the mini-loop.
C. Transportation is not just about roads. It includes walking trails and bike lanes. The Yelm Prairie Line Trail from town to the Nisqually Pines is fully funded at $1 million. A State Grant was received, where the city added very little. This will provide a safe avenue to walk from town to the Pines.
D. The city will soon be the recipient of an upgraded Yelm Ave. West from Tahoma Blvd to the High School, with construction underway.
E. Roads mentioned that have seen improvements on Mayor Harding’s watch include 103rd, Stevens St West [which received applause], Tahoma Blvd., and Mosman Ave.[mentioned was a yet-to-do realignment with Mosman at SR 507] , and the coming connection from Wal-Mart to 103rd.
[Ed. Note: Nothing was mentioned about the Bypass or its unfunded amount. Rep. Tom Campbell held a Town Hall meeting last Saturday and told those gathered, including Mayor Harding and Mayor Pro-tem Bob Isom that he would do all he can in the 2009 legislative session to secure the unfunded $56 million for the Bypass, noting that road priorities include the Seattle Viaduct, a new 520 floating bridge and covering the emergency costs associated with the reopening of I-5 after the December flood in central Washington. ]
4. WHAT’S NEXT
A. On the wish list is a Yelm Community Recreation Center to be housed on the site of the former Police Station that would include a complete rebuild of Yelm City Park.
B. In the meantime, the city has engaged with the private organization Yelm Community Services to handle public services out of their facility until a Community Center is opened. Look for more on this arrangement soon.
5. QUESTIONS FORM THE AUDIENCE
1. How about a swimming pool for Yelm?
The answer is, No! There is a problem maintaining and staffing such a facility. the city tries to engage in a plan that’s sustainable. In consultations with the YMCA and other organizations, we need to grow more to have a community pool. There is discussion of an aquatic center planned for one of the large developments in Yelm, which is the main option for a the community in the near-term.
2. What about an Emergency Care Center?
There are new offices coming in behind the Dairy Queen that will house some medical offices. However, the community has to grow to where that becomes a viable option.
There were no other questions. The Mayor was surprised, as he said he expected alot.
Mayor Harding was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the Chamber Board.