August 5, 2011
Relocating the University Place Police Department within the new Civic Building received the final go ahead at this week’s University Place City Council meeting.
The City Council authorized the City manager to award a $568,360 contract to Yi & Associates to construct 5,000 square feet of tenant improvements in a portion of the second floor of the new Civic Building. Yi and Associates beat out three other base bids to obtain the contract.
The U.P. Police are currently located within the Public Safety Building which also houses West Pierce Fire & Rescue. Due to the merger of the U.P. and Lakewood fire districts, the fire district approached the City to determine if it could buy out the City’s portion of the building to accommodate its need for additional space. In return, the City would receive $1 million from the district.
After the City agreed to vacate the space, the initial plan was to construct a new station on Drexler Drive, directly underneath the library. After bids exceeded the budget, a second plan was developed to construct a “no frills” police station on a portion of the second floor within the Civic Building. This option was less expensive since several walls, heating and other system components were already built. Police representatives also worked with staff to develop a “no frills” plan resulting in basic tenant improvements that could easily be used by any future office tenant. Construction will begin shortly with a move in date before the end of this year. For more information, please contact City Engineer Jack Ecklund at jecklund@CityofUP.com
*West Pierce Fire and Rescue Levy Proposal - Deputy Fire Chief Mitch Sagers, along with Chief Ken Sharp and Fire Commissioner Grant Blinn provided an informational briefing about the upcoming ballot measure to renew a maintenance and operations levy for the district.
Due to declining property values in Lakewood and University Place, the district experienced a reduction of close to $1.2 million in tax revenue and is actually collecting less property tax revenue today than it did in 2008. Although Chief Sagers cited several cost cutting measures such as the recent merger, employee concessions of more than $500,000 and an aggressive grant program,
the district is asking voters to renew the expiring levy which is needed to fund more than 25% of the district’s operating budget for the next two years. For more information, please contact Fire Chief Ken Sharp or Deputy Chief Mitch Sagers at 253.564.1623 or visit www.westpierce.org
*U.P. - Still A Safe Community - Motor vehicle thefts, burglaries and violent crime dropped slightly compared to a similar period last year, according to U.P. Police Chief Rusty Wilder’s quarterly update. Although statistics can be deceiving due to the low number of overall crimes, we experienced a drop in motor vehicle thefts from 38 to 29 as well as an overall drop in thefts with 218 incidents compared to 313 during a similar period last year. Despite a slight increase in robberies from stores/gas stations (20 compared to 16), Chief Wilder also indicated our recent addition of a detective has cleared up 25 cases.
Animal Control officers kept busy with 347 calls during the past three months. Public Safety Manager Jennifer Hales has also been successfully working with apartment managers and business owners in the Orchard Street corridor to address issue there. Thanks to additional overtime money covered under our contract with Pierce County Sheriff, our bike patrol will be out and about this summer.
*Business Survey Update - Expanding their work force within the next two years is on the horizon for 69% of U.P. business respondents, according to preliminary results from the 2011 Business Survey. Earlier this year, 851 U.P. businesses were sent a survey to gauge satisfaction with City services along with obtaining updates on business conditions. Based on 259 returns (which is a 30% return rate – and statistically significant!), we learned that:
*43% have been in business from 1-10 years; 32% have been in business for more than 20 years with 23% of those being located in University Place the entire time.
*Close to 48% of respondents are sole entrepreneurs while 44% have between two to 10 employees;
*Sales tax leakage continues in that 48% indicate they receive less than 10% of their revenue from within the City.
The Economic Development Commission (EDC) will continue to analyze information along with interviews from various stakeholder groups. Major topics of interest include challenges and opportunities regarding Town Center, importance of City/business communications, redevelopment opportunities along other commercial centers such as the 27th Street corridor as well as the upcoming 2015 US Open.
After the EDC finalizes its review, it will develop a draft three year Economic Development Plan to present to the public. Council is expected to receive a final report and recommendations later this year.
*Congratulations to Recreation Supervisor Jennifer Robinson who received awards from the Washington State Association of Senior Centers in the “Creative Programming” Category for the “Wild Women Get Away” in which a group of senior women spent three days bonding with each other and sharing the uniqueness of being a senior. Jennifer also received a Spotlight Award from the Washington Recreation & Parks Association for “Camp Wrinkle Ranch” which is a senior citizen sleep over camp focusing on senior issues and friendship. We are so proud to have employees like Jennifer whose caring and efforts demonstrate that all citizens are valued in University Place. Great job, Jennifer!
*Green UP/Sustainability Plan - This week the City Council formally adopted the Green UP Initiative and Communitywide Sustainability Vision as recommended by an advisory committee composed of representatives from the City, West Pierce Fire & Rescue District, the U.P. School District, U.P. Library, UP Refuse, Tacoma Public Utilities, the business community and residents.
Under the plan, the City will work with each of its partners to share information and ideas on how to make UP a more sustainable community.
The City already incorporates environmentally friendly and sustainable practices such as increasing green space, walkability, and installation of retention ponds and storm water features. However, the Sustainability Vision focuses on five specific areas: energy, environmental health & natural resources, transportation, community vitality, and education and outreach. After adopting the plan, each of the partners will work on implementing additional policies and procedures to increase sustainable efforts within our community, which will then be featured in an annual progress update. Increasing our efforts to encourage sustainability, especially through increased education and outreach, also received a great deal of support in a recent community survey. For more information or to get involved, please visit www.CityofUP.com
or contact Steve Buter at sbuter@CityofUP.com
*Curran House – The Washington Heritage Register has officially entered the Curran House on its listing for historical and culturally significant properties. The house is also being considered for placement on the National Register of Historic Places. This week, work is also expected to wrap up on the replacement of the Curran house roof thanks to a grant obtained by the Curran House Investigating and Planning group (CHIPs).
*Get Local! - Thirty-three vendors took over Market Square last weekend in the 1st annual “Get Local” event to promote local businesses and raise money for the U.P. Parks and Recreation programs. Visitors meandered past booths, enjoyed great food and bid on wonderful gift baskets while learning about the plethora of local products and services available here in U.P. Thanks to the UP Community Supported Parks & Recreation, a 501(c)3 (Dixie Harris, Patty Mannie and Jim Baldes), the U.P./Fircrest Chamber of Commerce (Randy Walden) , U.P. Economic Development Department (Becky Metcalf and Mariza Craig) for their outstanding efforts on this event.”
University Place Festival – Saturday, Aug. 6
10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Cirque Park
Celebrate the City’s 16th
Birthday with great entertainment, food and fun! Presented by the Tacoma Events Commission, this year’s event features a host of musical offerings including the Diamond Experience, a Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge, watermelon eating contest, Hogs v. Hosers softball game, Cirque Slam skateboarding and much, much more. For details visit www.TacomaEvents.com
Also, take advantage of a FREE “Green UP” electronic recycling drop off at the University Place Festival. Get rid of those old computers, cell phones, batteries, electronics (but no light bulbs) and other items. Visit www.friendlyearth.org
, or call 206.367.4111 for more information.
Elvis! Come boogie with the “King” at the Curran Apple Orchard on Thursday, Aug. 11 from 6:30 - 8 p.m. at Danny Vernon’s spectacular “Illusions of Elvis” show. Sponsored by Columbia Bank and CORE, this free event also offers picnic food for sale from the U.P. Kiwanis. In case of inclement weather, the concert will be moved to the Curtis HS Cafeteria.
VOTE! Don’t forget to vote in the August 16 primary for the U.P. City Council seat as well as the West Pierce Fire & Rescue renewal levy. Mark your ballots and mail them off OR drop them off (postage free) at one of the ballot deposit sites, including the one located in front of the Public Safety Building, 3631 Drexler Drive W.
Pups in the Park
- Flying Disc Dogs, doggie contests, vendors, food and fun are in store at the 5th
Annual Pups in the Park on Saturday, August 20 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. at Cirque Park
. Admission is free; however, there is a slight cost to participate in doggie contests. Sponsored by SUNDogs, the event is a fundraiser for the off leash dog park. For more information, visit www.updogpark.org
Finally, thank you to everyone who participated in National Night Out this past week. I know I speak for Council when I say it is definitely one of our favorite events to attend. Several teams composed of representatives from the City staff, Council, commissions, fire district and police traveled to 42 neighborhoods and visited with close to 1,000 residents to share information.
Our lives are often so busy with work and family commitments. Taking the time to meet our neighbors in a fun, social event helps build bonds that result in a stronger, more caring community. All of the teams enjoyed their visits and we thank everyone who welcomed us so warmly into all of their gatherings.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to contact me at dklosowski@CityofUP.com
. See you at the Festival!
Mayor, City of University Place