Brynn Grimley (253) 983-7761 • Fax (253) 589-3774 •
Communications Manager

May 18, 2018

Work began this week on the planned non-motorized trail that spans just under 1 mile along Gravelly Lake Drive to increase pedestrian connectivity and safety in the neighborhood. As part of that work contractor NW Cascade took down a number of diseased trees along the roadway which were identified as public safety hazards. During removal cars were stalled while the lanes of travel were closed for safety precautions.

Drivers can expect additional delays starting Monday, May 21 when storm drainage installation begins. Please plan for extra drive times during this work.

A detour will be in place for westbound traffic while this work occurs. Drivers will be routed south on Nyanza Road, west on Gravelly Lake Drive and back to Washington Boulevard.

The eastbound lane will remain open.

We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience while we complete this important pedestrian safety project.

May 14, 2018

The City of Lakewood was sad to learn of the passing of former Mayor Claudia Thomas on May 12, 2018.

Thomas made history while serving Lakewood: First as a member of the inaugural City Council in 1995 and again in 2006 when her peers voted her Mayor, making her the first female African-American mayor in Washington State.

Prior to becoming Mayor, Thomas served as Deputy Mayor from 1995 to 2003.

“The city was saddened to learn of Claudia’s passing over the weekend,” said Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson, whose time on the City Council overlapped with Thomas. “It was great pleasure to serve with Claudia on the council. She was a tireless advocate for youth and education.”

Those who knew Thomas and saw her in action describe her as a mother figure committed to giving a voice to overlooked populations, including youth.

In 1997 Thomas worked to get two youth advisors appointed to the City Council. Today there is a Lakewood Youth Council with 22 members that acts as one of the city’s advisory boards.

Thomas is also responsible for initiating the city’s practice of dedicating 1 percent of its general fund to human service organizations. The city awarded approximately $720,000 in the last biennium to area nonprofits and organizations focused on social and human services.

Thomas also created Lakewood’s Promise, which is still active and focuses on helping children become successful adults. As a result of her work, the city was recognized nationally by America’s Promise as one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People in 2006-2008 and again in 2010-2012.

“You could count on Claudia to be out in the community and know what people were thinking because she was always in motion,” Anderson said.

On a personal note, Anderson recalled how at every council meeting Thomas would slip him candy.

“That showed the kind of person she was,” he said. “It’s a small thing, but it left a warm feeling.”

The City of Lakewood expresses its heartfelt condolences to the Thomas family during this difficult time, but takes pride in knowing Thomas’ legacy lives on in Lakewood through the policies she crafted, the programs she supported and the countless lives she touched while leading this city.

May 11, 2018

Do you have a team of 10 or more volunteers over the age of 15? We need your help!

If you volunteer at our July 14 SummerFEST event for a five to six hour shift we will give your group a donation. We are looking for people to help as parking attendants, triathlon bike course marshals and run course marshals.

Contact Sally Martinez in our Parks, Recreation and Community Services department to learn more and to volunteer. (253) 983-7758 or email .

May 8, 2018

This month you’ll see signs go up at key intersections around the city where panhandling is prevalent.

The city sympathizes with those facing hardships including homelessness and hunger, but also the property owners, motorists and others who experience the negative side of panhandling. That includes increased collisions at intersections where people are stepping into traffic to take items from drivers, and an increase in the number of pedestrian vs. vehicle collisions.

Often times an increase in trash, food products and even hypodermic needles are found at locations where panhandlers frequent. Left behind food products can lure domestic and wild animals searching for food; the increased trash at the city’s major intersections is unattractive.

There are many organizations and charities in Lakewood and Pierce County focused on providing food, shelter and services to those who are in need. Giving to these organizations ensures that your “change” is going to legitimate purposes.

There is no way to know if the panhandler you encounter is going to use the money you give them to purchase something legitimate like food or medicine, or use it on something like alcohol or drugs.

There is also no way to know if the person you encounter really is homeless, has a sick child or family they need to care for, or is a veteran like they claim.

Resources for those in need have always been available. Some people simply choose not to use them.

Lakewood police officers regularly provide pamphlets to homeless and panhandlers, providing them with multiple resources available in the community. Our officers will continue to do this and the pamphlets will be available at both the front desks of City Hall (6000 Main St SW) and the police station (9401 Lakewood Dr SW).

The city also dedicates 1 percent of its general fund to human services. That amounts to roughly $360,000 that goes back each year into community organizations focused on providing affordable housing, shelters, food banks, financial counseling and other services to help people find stability.

If you know someone who would like a pamphlet or who would benefit from being connected to these resources please contact the Lakewood Police Department at (253) 830-5000.

May 14, 2018


Project Description

Through this project, the City will construct curb, gutter and a 10 foot wide sidewalk along the easterly (lake) side of Gravelly Lake Drive starting just north of Washington Boulevard, extending north to Nyanza and a 6 foot wide sidewalk on the opposite side. Work also includes storm water conveyance system modifications and the installation of a complete roadway illumination system. The roadway pavement will also be fully reconstructed. 


Vegetation Removal

The project will extend approximately 5 feet beyond the existing pavement edge along the easterly (lake) side of the road. The westerly side extends to approximately the existing edge of pavement. This will require pruning of existing hedges within the right of way.  Most hedges will need to be pruned but will remain. The row of fir trees just south of Madera Drive has been determined to be compromised with root rot and will be removed.  


Construction Funding

Connecting Washington Grant (state fuel tax)                                           $2,390,000

City of Lakewood Storm Water Utility                                                         $445,000 

Total                                                                                                         $2,835,000



Construction is scheduled to begin May 16, 2018, and is expected to last approximately 6 months depending on weather. Typical working hours will be between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.. There may be occasions that work will occur during weekends to minimize traffic impacts. Night work is not anticipated due to the proximity to residences.


Traffic Impacts

It is anticipated that Gravelly Lake Drive will be limited to one lane of traffic northbound (toward downtown) with southbound detours in place. The southbound detour route will be Nyanza Road to Gravelly Lake Drive (long way around the lake). This will add approximately 1.25 miles of travel to reach Washington Boulevard from downtown. Signals will be timed to more effectively coordinate traffic volumes. Residents within the project area will be allowed access at all times but should expect delays. 


Contact Info

Eric Swanstrom, P.E.                    Chris Phippen/Scott Davis                     Micah Thompson

Project Manager                           Construction Inspector                           Project Manager

City of Lakewood                          City of Lakewood                                   NW Cascade

(253) 983-7751/983.7713               (253) 254-2891/(253) 732-8051                  (360) 367-0899   

May 9, 2018

In recognition of May being Bladder Cancer Awareness month longtime Lakewood advocate JoEthel Smith and her family organized a walk to raise awareness about bladder cancer.

The walk will be May 19 at Fort Steilacoom Park around the newly paved Waughop Lake Trail. Registration opens at 11 a.m. The walk begins at 12 p.m.

Smith is a bladder cancer survivor and wanted to host the walk to raise awareness about the disease that is more prevalent than people realized. This year alone 81,000 people are estimated to be diagnosed with bladder cancer and 17,000 bladder cancer patients are expected to succumb to the disease.

By hosting this walk Smith and her family want to raise public awareness around bladder cancer with the hope that people will be screened early and seek care before it is too late.

After 35 months of more than 80 rounds of chemotherapy and the eventual removal of her bladder, Smith proudly states she is a bladder cancer survivor. If it weren't for her seeking medical attention after noticing blood in her urine "my outcome may have have been a different story," Smith notes on her event website.

"On behalf of my family, I want to say thank you for supporting us in raising money and resources for the Bladder Cancer Awareness Network and the South Sound Ostomy Support Group," Smith writes about how the proceeds from the walk will be used.

Learn more about Smith's story and register for the walk at .


May 4, 2018

Multicultural Food Demo & Competition

Presented by Lakewood SummerFEST & Sister Cities International Festival July 14

We are seeking chefs who are excited about promoting their establishments and highlighting their talents to provide a cooking demo on Saturday, July 14 at Fort Steilacoom Park for our annual SummerFEST celebration.

Last year SummerFEST attracted 30,000 people.

Format of event: Two chefs will prepare a multi-cultural dish side-by-side, featured in a 20 minute competition against each other. An emcee will facilitate the demo, describe the dishes, restaurants and interact with chefs.

After the timed competition each chef will offer samples. Samples will be prepared ahead of time and brought to the event. SummerFEST attendees will vote on their favorite dish by dropping marbles into a jar on a scale. The heaviest jar wins!

Next steps if you are interested:

  • Contact Anessa McLendon at Cha or (253) 468-0808.
  • Choose a time slot: 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. or 5 p.m.
  • Discuss with Anessa the dish that will be made.
  • Provide 50-100 samples (suggested at least 75) for judging.
  • Provide your own ingredients, tools, etc. for demonstration.
  • Send a bio, info about the dish, and anything else you would like the emcee to share.
  • Bring fliers, menus, etc. to promote your establishment.

What you will get in return

  • Massive exposure!
  • Your website linked to Summerfest website
  • Social media posts through City of Lakewood
  • Logo on food demo pamphlet
  • Winners receive recognition in Fall 2018 issue of Lakewood Connections Magazine distributed to 30,000 households
  • Exposure up to 30,000 people on day of the event.

What the City of Lakewood will provide:

  • Handwashing station
  • Covered shelter space
  • Tables
  • Emcee
  • Volunteers
  • Voting materials
  • Sound system


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