City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 10/16/09

October 16, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Harry Todd Park Dock Improvements: The docks at Harry Todd Park were originally installed back in the early 1970's by Pierce County as part of the park improvements when they purchased the property. Other than routine maintenance the docks remained the same for the next 35 years. In 2006, the City of Lakewood completed much needed upgrades/repairs to the aging dock system in an effort to extend its life. Floats that were beyond repair were removed and the remaining floats received concrete repairs, new wood whalers and through rods (connectors). Additional funds were allocated in the 2009 capital budget to sustain the dock system at Harry Todd Park. The weight of the handrail has proven to be too heavy for the old dock system, causing stress damage to the inside corners as well making the dock lean. Last week park staff removed the railings which stabilized the docks. Further repairs will occur in the next few weeks. Both the north and south gangways will be replaced with new long life commercial grade gangways that will be much more stable and safer for park visitors. The damage to the inside corners will be repaired and additional bracing will be installed to help prevent damage in the future. There is a section in the center of the dock that has suffered irreparable damage from continuous wave action and as a result will be removed creating two L shaped docks (instead of the familiar U shape). A floating swim rope, similar to the one used at American Lake Park will be used in the new opening to protect swimmers during the summer months. This opening will also allow rescue boats into the area in the event of a water emergency. Additional swim ladders will be added to both docks to help swimmers safely exit the water. All of these repairs should help the dock system survive the winter storms and be safe and ready for spring and summer use.
  • Business License Checks: The Community Development Department performed a business license check on four (4) businesses on October 9th, with the assistance of the Police Department, the State Liquor Control Board, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, and the State Department of Labor and Industries. The inspections were performed in the evening hours because the targeted businesses do not operate during the day. Each involved agency inspected the business with regard to their specific duties and responsibilities. One business was declared "Unsafe to Enter" due to the amount and severity of code violations identified by the inspection team.
  • Ribbon cutting at Lake Louise School Park: The Mayor, city manager, and parks & recreation director participated in the formal dedication and ribbon-cutting at Lake Louse Elementary School for Lakewood's newest neighborhood park and playground on October 12th. The "school-park" is a joint effort between the City and the Clover Park School District, and was funded by $150,000 from the City and is situated on School District property. The intent is to further the City's goal of a neighborhood park within a half mile of all residents. The school principal, the superintendent of schools, and two school board members also participated in the special event, and students assisted in the actual "cutting of the ribbon" to open the playground.
  • Port of Tacoma community leaders meeting: The city manager participated in a community leaders briefing hosted by the executive director of the Port of Tacoma on October 16th. The agenda included roundtable discussion about trade and the economy and impacts on the Port, transportation and freight mobility issues (including the Point Defiance bypass railroad route), and Port support to the military bases.
  • Building Permit Update: For September 2009, the Community Development department issued building permits totaling $1,278,312 in new construction valuation. Total for the year is $50,732,243. To date, the City has issued 1,142 building permits. This same time last year, the City had issued 1,296 building permits. Based on these figures, the number of permits has dropped by about 14%. There are some significant development projects pending. One of these may come online before the end of the year and another is scheduled for the spring of 2010.
  • Pierce Transit System Re-design project: The city manager met with the Pierce Transit CEO on October 15th to review the transportation system's role in Lakewood and to provide input on the City's economic redevelopment priorities. The discussion was part of the overall Pierce Transit "system re-design" project, a strategic planning exercise to update the agency's mission and direction. There was also discussion about the agency's administrative headquarters and operations base in Lakewood.