By Debbie Klosowski, Mayor, City of University Place
Creating a separate Parks and Open Space “zone” to recognize those lands designated or proposed for City parks and open spaces was the primary topic at this week’s University Place City Council meeting.
Parks & Open Space Zone – Under the City’s original Comprehensive Land Use Plan, parks and open spaces were included under the “umbrella” of a Public Facilities zone which also applied to schools, the fire station and County property.
A few years ago, the City briefly considered selling a City-owned parcel near Curtis High School. As a result, the Park and Recreation Commission approached the Planning Commission to request a new park zone designation which would place City owned parks into a separate zone to protect those properties from being converted into non-park uses and provide a public process regarding any potential land use changes.
After reviewing the issue, the Planning Commission sent on a recommendation to create a new zone that would only apply to City owned parks and open spaces, leaving out school district land and Pierce County’s Chambers Creek Properties.
During the Study Session, Council directed staff to bring forth additional details about specific parcel boundaries and uses. Public comment on this issue will be taken at a future Council meeting.
Welcome West Pierce Fire and Rescue!
West Pierce Fire District Chiefs Ken Sharp and Mitch Sagers formally introduced the new Fire District created by the recent merger of the University Place and Lakewood Fire Departments.
Hazardous Materials Team Leader Jay Summerlin also briefed Council on the regional response to the recent train derailment at the Chambers Creek Properties in which two trains sideswiped each other, resulting in overturned cars and sodium hydroxide being spilled upon on the beach. Burlington Northern Santa Fe operations are back to normal; however, it will take approximately three weeks to remove all of the debris and damaged cars. In the meantime, the pedestrian Bridge to the Beach will remain closed.
Capital Improvements – City Engineer Jack Ecklund provided Council with a City-wide capital improvements briefing including:
* Completion of the 15,000 square foot Pierce County (U.P.) Library;
* Ongoing progress related to the Civic Building which includes a 3,300 square foot atrium, two ground floor retail spaces (5,500 square feet); approximately 20,000 square feet in office space and a 2,000 square foot future Council chambers along with a 108-stall parking garage;
* Transit Facility improvements via federal grants which will eventually include 270 parking stalls (80 now open), electric vehicle charging stations, bike lockers and signage;
* Bridgeport Streetscape ($2.5 million grant) involving sidewalks, parking, intersection improvements and raised crosswalks at Market Square;
* Bridgeport3A (Cirque Drive to 54th) using a $1.75 million grant to construct sidewalks, bike lanes, lights and raised medians;
* A $782,000 Safe Routes to Schools grant on Grandview Drive from 27th to 19th which will result in sidewalks, bike lanes and lights to improve safety for U.P. Primary students and neighbors;
* A $697,000 Safe Routes to School grant on 40th between Sunset and 67th to construct sidewalks, bike lanes and lights to benefit school children attending Evergreen Primary and Narrows View Middle Schools; (Special thanks to Narrows View Principal Eric Brubaker and Evergreen Primary Principal Lance Goodpaster and students for participating in the groundbreaking ceremony for this project earlier this week).
* Two Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety grants ($1.5 million) to improve sections of Alameda as well as 40th;
* A $1 million grant for improvements on Market Square; and
* Design grants for future projects along Bridgeport Way and Mildred/67th.
All in all, our City successfully obtained more than $10 million in state and federal grants to help make our community a safer place to live!
Playground Volunteers Needed!
Volunteer jobs for all ages and skill levels are available for the upcoming construction of the Playground by the Sound. Project leader Linda Bird provided a project update, indicating that $142,448 has been raised to date via grants and other donations, just 14% short of the $163,500 needed. In-kind donations, value engineering, and naming rights for picket fences and larger components are anticipated to make up the shortfall.
Construction of the playground, which will be located in the North Meadow of the Chambers Creek Properties, is slated for September 20 through 25. Designed by local school children, the playground will feature components such as a Galloping Gertie bridge, lighthouse, crab shack, shaded benches and a boat.
People can help in a variety of ways such as:
* Lending tools such as hammers, saws, squares, etc which will be checked in and out to volunteers on a daily basis, then kept overnight in locked trailers. If any tools are damaged or missing, they will be replaced.
* Purchasing Components – Donations of any amount are welcome! Some options include purchasing a fence picket with your name on it for $35 up to $2,000 for a piece of the playground equipment.
* Time – Whether you are skilled in a construction trade or can help out by checking in supplies, ordering food or sorting items, there are opportunities available for all ages and all skill levels. Please sign up at www.playgroundbythesound.org regarding your interests and abilities.
Pruning Party – Come help out at the Curran Orchard this Saturday, March 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Receive instructions from Master Gardeners on how to prune apple trees or just help haul branches and wood chips.
Speak Up Neighborhood Meeting – Join us for our fourth neighborhood meeting on Wednesday, March 23, at 7 p.m. at the U. P. Library. Learn about City issues along with discussing your questions and concerns. If you would like to schedule a speaker for your neighborhood or organization, please contact 460.2500.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to contact me at dklosowski@CityofUP.com.