In the last issue, I recapped many of the key legislative accomplishments of 2015, including our passage of the Comprehensive Plan amendment, the Shoreline Master Plan and our Safe Routes to School initiative. In this issue, I’d like to focus on some of the equally important efforts we made to improve the quality of life for all our residents and to make our community the Place where people truly want to live, invest, work and play.
Economic Development: We welcomed several new businesses and announced plans for more openings in 2016. Although the opening of Whole Foods Market in the Village at Chambers Bay drew a lot of attention, we were equally pleased to welcome to U.P. Kleen Kicks, a restorer of high-end collectible sneakers, and Paper Luxe, a boutique offering unique gifts and accessories. We also celebrated the opening of Le Roi Salon in the Alicia Building and Rainier Medical in the Clearview 100 Building. And with great joy, we raised a toast to the long-awaited re-opening of the Ale House. This kind of investment in our community has led to additional businesses announcing their plans to open in U.P. in 2016, including Mediterranean Grill and Seattle-based Top Pot Doughnuts.
Residential Growth: Apartments at the Clearview 100 Building in the Village at Chambers Bay are fully occupied and the first phase of the Latitude 47 Building in the Village has just started leasing and is moving at a fast pace. Work is underway on completing Phase II of the Latitude Building and early indications are that it will be quickly occupied as well. Units in the upper floors of the Alicia Building at Bridgeport and 33rd Street have been fully occupied for a number of years and market demand is expected to exceed the number of available apartments at the new Grandview Senior Living project. These new residents are building our city’s residential tax base and add to the vibrancy of our community.
Regional Events: Working in conjunction with Venti Productions, we continued to position University Place as the “go-to” destination for fun seasonal and regional events, including our annual Sun Fest in August, the Winter Fest and Holiday Tree Lighting celebration in December, and of course, our Duck Daze festival in June to celebrate our wet and wacky weather. Each time we host these events, we celebrate community and give our businesses an opportunity to attract new customers.
Building Our History: Although the City of University Place is only 20 years young, the community of University Place has been around for decades and, thanks to our revitalized Historical Society, a concerted effort is underway to collect and archive our rich history. The U.P. Historical Society has opened a museum in the Windmill Village complex that chronicles our story through everything from Curtis High School yearbooks to news clippings and other memorabilia.
Beautification: Just in time for the U.S. Open, we unveiled the beautiful new public art installation “Between Sea and Sky” in the Civic Building Atrium. Thanks to the tireless efforts of UP for Art and the countless volunteers who plant daffodil bulbs and support our hanging baskets, we have created inviting public spaces and streetscapes that greatly enhance the quality of life that our residents have told us they value.
WellCity Award: A volunteer team of City employees developed and implement educational and behavioral programs designed to promote the physical, mental and emotional health of our employees. Their efforts resulted in a savings of more than $14,000 to the City in health-related costs and a WellCity award from the Association of Washington Cities (AWC).
I could go on and on, but my time is up, so now I turn the gavel over to the next Mayor, who will be elected at the Council Meeting of Jan. 4. I have no doubt that the City will continue to rack up accomplishments and I encourage you to continue to turn to the U.P. Press and its Headlines pages to stay abreast of all your City is doing for you…and with you. Thank you for allowing me the privilege to serve as your Mayor this year. Happy holidays to all and best wishes for a wonderful 2016!