Highlights from the weekly report (November 7) from City of Lakewood Manager, Andrew Neiditz to the Mayor and Council Members:
- Wards Lake Park Expansion: Since incorporation, the City has purchased several parcels of contiguous land, removed structures and developed the area now known as Wards Lake Park. Wards Lake Park, located in the northeast neighborhood of Lakewood, just grew by almost two acres this week. At 22 acres, Wards Lake Park is a natural wonder in a very densely populated area. In the middle of the park were two private land parcels which created private and public access issues. Purchase of the properties for public use ensures proper stewardship of the land and is a good solution to solving the access problems. The purchase was recommended in our park and recreation master plan and supported in the City’s comprehensive plan. Staff applied to the Pierce County Conservation Futures Grant program for funding to purchase the property. The application was reviewed and ranked high enough to receive funding. The property was valued at $535,000 with the City of Lakewood paying less than 10% of the purchase price ($40,000). The City will remove the structure(s) on the property and open the area up for public use. The community will be invited to participate in a master planning effort next year.
- Public Works applies for an Economic Development Agency (EDA) Grant: Public Works applied for an Economic Development Agency (EDA) grant for installing additional sanitary sewers, drainage facilities and road reconstruction in the American Lake Gardens (ALGs) area. This project would start where our existing project ends and completes the installation of sanitary sewers, drainage facilities and road reconstruction along all roads which front the 117 acres of industrial zoned properties within the ALGs area. The total estimated project cost is $3,240,000. The City applied for $1,600,000 with the match of $1,640,000 coming from the SWM fund. To date the project has made the first “cut” and is one of eight being presented on November 12th to PSRC’s Economic Development District Board. The board acts as the clearing house for EDA grants within our 4 county region. As such their job is to establish a priorities ranking of these eight projects. If our project ranks high enough we will then be encouraged to apply directly to EDA for a grant. EDA awards about two million dollars in grant money to our 4 county regional each grant cycle.
- Police Department Awarded Bullet Proof Vest Grant: The Police Department was awarded a Bullet Proof Vest grant from Bureau of Justice Assistance. $14,350 was granted for use over the next 22 months. Bullet Proof Vests are a mandatory piece of equipment for all police officers and must be replaced every five years according to industry regulations. A typical bullet proof vest costs the department $725. However, by employing leveraged purchasing strategies, the department can stretch the funds to support purchase of 44 vests, which is 20 more than we would have received as budgeted.
- Basketball Registration Closes – Several Youth Benefit from Recreation Scholarship Program: The registration period for Lakewood Parks and Recreation’s Youth Basketball Leagues closed on November 7th. Approximately 200 youth in grades K-7 are expected to participate in the winter basketball program. Nine children were awarded recreation scholarships to help cover a portion of the registration fee. These scholarships were made possible by the Recreation Scholarship Fund which is funded by individual community donations and SummerFEST fundraising activities.
- Lakewood Senior Activity Center Halloween Monster Bash: October 31st, there were 80 Witches, Fairies, Princesses and Goblins who flew in to the Lakewood Senior Activity Center for our annual Halloween Monster Bash. There were spooky decorations at each table, and everyone got to take home an extra “hand” (since a third one always comes in handy‚Ä¶), and to share the goodies with the big monster “Heads”. When all the Mummies came out in their finest toilet paper wrappings, a contest was held for the most interesting. The food was “terrific” and enjoyed by all the participants, and there were many thanks to the committee who set it all up.
- City Council Recognizes Veterans: The Council conducted a ceremony recognizing military veterans at its November 3rd meeting. The event began with posting of the colors from Boy Scout Troop 51, singing of the National Anthem by Harrison Prep student Brian Hoffmeister, a “Joint Base Lewis McChord” informational briefing, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presentations, and a proclamation of appreciation to senior representatives from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. The event was capped with a service song medley video.
- Mayor Signs Statement of Support for Guard and Reserve: Mayor Doug Richardson signed a Statement of Support with Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) representatives. The statement acknowledges the City’s commitment to meeting or exceeding federal requirements with respect to supporting employees engaged in reserve military service. The City Council also amended an Ordinance to provide a salary differential for employees who would take a cut in pay if mobilized for Federal military service.
- City Manager Receives “Patriot Award.”: Jim Sheppard, chairman of the Washington Committee of the ESGR presented the “Patriot Award” to Andrew Neiditz for his ongoing commitment to City employees serving in the Guard and Reserve. The City currently has six employees serving in the reserve components of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard. Three City employees have deployed within the last few years.