The state Legislature will convene in mid-January for its short, 2020 session. The Lakewood City Council prioritized its key asks heading into the session and has set a December meeting to review these priorities with 28th and 29th legislative district representatives.
Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2019 at 6 p.m. the City Council will host a legislative roundtable to discuss these priorities in Council Chambers at Lakewood City Hall, 6000 Main St. SW. The meeting is open to the public.
The city’s focus heading into the 2020 session include:
- Establishing economic development tools for Lakewood Landing;
- Requesting $250,000 for a multimodal transportation assessment for the Interstate 5 corridor between DuPont and Lakewood.
Lakewood Landing: Located along Interstate 5, Lakewood Landing is a 25-acre site off South Tacoma Way near state Route 512 that is currently being used for industrial purposes, including a state Department of Transportation maintenance facility and limited retail.
Analysis shows the land would be better utilized if redeveloped. An average of 282,000 vehicles pass by daily, and its proximity to the Lakewood Sounder Station makes it an ideal location for transit-oriented mixed-use development.
Affordable- and market-rate housing, along with business like early learning facilities or an entertainment complex are better suited for the location. Other possibilities include medical or social services, office space, recreation and open space, restaurants and retail.
If redeveloped the state, county and city would see significant tax revenue increases. Lakewood would also see a more livable community.
City leaders are asking the state to invest in economic development tools to allow the project to advance from vision to reality. This includes advancing a constitutional amendment to authorize tax increment financing, or allocating funding to programs like the Local Infrastructure Financing Tool (LIFT) and the Local Revitalization Financing (LRF) programs.
In total the city is requesting the state contribute $2 million annually for a 20-year period for this project.
Multimodal transportation assessment: The city is asking the Legislature to allocate $250,000 for a study to consider practical solutions to increase multimodal connectivity along the I-5 corridor between DuPont and Lakewood. The study would include options that take advantage of the already funded grade-separated railroad crossings and increase connectivity between Sound Transit and Amtrak using the existing or planned infrastructure. This request is supported by Sound Transit, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Pierce Transit, Pierce County Council Chairman Doug Richardson, Lakewood Water District, West Pierce Fire & Rescue and Clover Park School District.
Looking ahead to future legislative sessions the city is focused on:
- Requesting state monies to help pay for the addition of lights at the city’s four ballfields at Fort Steilacoom Park.
- Requesting state capital project monies to improve Wards Lake Park, to include expanding its footprint and its trail network, environmental remediation, open space improvements, wetland enhancements and increased parking and learning opportunities.
Longer term the city anticipates requesting capital funding from the state to help with the rehabilitation of its H-Barn, located at Fort Steilacoom Park. A study in 2018 determined it would cost approximately $6 million (in 2020 dollars) to renovate the historic barn into a facility that could be used by the public as an event space. Partners for Parks is currently raising money to help with the restoration effort and the city will also contribute money.
Lakewood is proud of the relationships it holds with the elected state officials in each district. City leaders maintain these strong ties through regular communication – not only in advance of the session, but also throughout the session and during the “off” months.
In recent years Lakewood has seen the benefits of these relationships through the allocations of state funding for key city projects. During the 2019 legislative session the city saw the transfer of Fort Steilacoom Park from state ownership to the city – something city leaders have advocated and lobbied for since incorporation in 1996.
The recent completion of the Colonial Plaza is another example of a project made possible through the allocation of state monies. Members in the 29th Legislative District were instrumental in seeing that happen.
Lakewood’s leadership also continues to work closely with representatives of the 28th Legislative District on the issue of Adult Family Home businesses. The city regularly communicates its concerns around the high volume of these businesses within the city’s neighborhoods, as well as concerns around who is placed in the homes and the potential public safety risk that is created when a violent offender is placed in a home without the proper support system and without community notification.
Heading into 2020 the city will continue to lobby for changes to state law that better define who can be placed in an adult family home business and push for improved transparency around how the state is using adult family home businesses to house individuals previously held in state facilities. The city also supports efforts to see offenders returned to their county of origin once released.
State Sen. Steve O’Ban and state Reps. Christine Kilduff and Mari Leavitt all have bills aimed at addressing public concerns around adult family home businesses. The city supports these bills and is requesting Pierce County’s elected leadership to also advocate for this legislation.
At the federal level, Lakewood continues to support Congressman Denny Heck’s Defense Community Infrastructure Program and is lobbying for a $100 million funding request through this program for road improvements on Washington Boulevard which is the main arterial used by people travelling from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s north fort to JBLM’s main gate.
To view the city’s complete legislative agendas at the county, state and federal level visit the Government Relations page.