As I prepare to complete my term as your mayor, I would like to share with you some of the important accomplishments of the past year. Working in conjunction with my fellow Mayor Pro Tem Figueroa and City Council Members Keel, Worthington, Grassi, Nye and Belleci, as well as our incredibly talented and dedicated City staff, I am extremely proud of the work we completed and am excited about the opportunities that await us. It’s hard to condense a year’s worth of meetings, documents and events into a few hundred words, but let me start with these achievements:
Streamlined our City Council meetings from four a month to two a month. Despite condensing our meeting schedules, we still approved 16 ordinances and passed 24 resolutions, thus demonstrating our commitment to providing the people of University Place with productive, creative, efficient and effective leadership.
Hosted the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, the first such event to be held in the Pacific Northwest. The Championship, which doubled the number of people in our city each day, showcased to the world the natural beauty of our community as well as our first-class preparations. Our carefully crafted neighborhood parking plan worked beautifully and fulfilled our promise to U.P. residents of minimal disruptions during the Open. On a national scale, our legislation regarding the use of unmanned aerial systems during the event received FAA approval and has become a national model that will now be employed at future USGA events.
Passed the Comprehensive Plan amendment. This major undertaking involved 28 public meetings and two public hearings. Based on input from residents and City staff, we were able to chart the path that will guide our city’s growth and development through 2035. New zoning regulations included in the amendment will protect the character of U.P.’s single-family neighborhoods and provide for new growth and development in our existing commercial and mixed-use areas.
Passed the Shoreline Master Site Plan which defines policies and regulations for the City’s 5.9 miles of Puget Sound shoreline and 2.65 miles of Chambers Creek shoreline, including areas within 200 feet of these designated shorelines, associated wetlands and floodplains.
Enhanced our public communications by partnering with the Pierce County Community Newspaper Group to launch the University Place Press, a local newspaper that will enable us to deliver City news to our residents in a timely and cost-efficient manner. We also joined the “Twittersphere” this year at @CityofUPWA.
Implemented the Safe Routes to School Program by employing $2.3 million in federal grant funds to make more than two miles of safety improvements to sidewalks, bike lanes, speed controls, crosswalks and street lighting that benefit our students and residents. As a result of these improvements, all schools in U.P. are now connected to the City’s sidewalk network.
Celebrated the fourth year of our Community Connector program with the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. U.P. residents showed their outstanding support for the men and women of the brigade by sending more than 2,300 postcards from the community to the soldiers during their deployment to Afghanistan.
I have a lot more to report, particularly in the areas of economic development and important quality of life initiatives in our City. But that will have to wait until the next issue of the U.P. Press, so…stay tuned!