City initiative aims to spruce up downtown

The emphasis involves multiple city departments, businesses, Chamber of Commerce, Renton Downtown Partnership and others.

Renton is joining forces with local businesses and partners to make downtown a cleaner and safer place.

The city recently announced an initiative to enhance safety and clean up downtown Renton.

The Coordinated Downtown Improvements Emphasis, led by Mayor Denis Law, involves multiple city departments, downtown businesses, volunteers, Chamber of Commerce and Renton Downtown Partnership.

“Over the years we’ve made a significant investment in our downtown and now we’re stepping it up even further,” said Law. “Revitalization of downtown Renton has been a city priority for many years. The city has invested tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure and other improvements and more dollars are being committed. Private developers are also investing hundreds of millions of dollars in downtown Renton.”

The initiative focuses on five areas: trash, litter and abandoned shopping carts; graffiti; sidewalks and right-of-ways; security and health; and landscaping.

“It’s the little things that makes the difference,” said Senior Planner Jennifer Henning at a May 7 Committee of the Whole meeting. “If you have a visible sign of crime or anti-social behavior, it can create further crime and disorder. If we reduce or eliminate those concerns, we can have an almost immediate effect and good return on our time and effort.”

Henning said the initiative is fashioned in to include everyone — the city departments, local businesses, Renton Chamber of Commerce, Renton Downtown Partnership Republic Services, King County Metro, neighborhood groups and volunteers.

“These two groups will have a key role to play in educating and encouraging their members to take responsibility, potentially hire a coordinator or service to pick-up litter on a regular basis, and participate in the comprehensive safety and clean-up efforts,” read the release.

The effort is still in its early stages and Henning said the city has yet to finalize on all the details.

The city is partnering with King County Metro to install high-tech solar-powered compactor trash cans in the downtown transit center that can prevent birds, rodents and other scavengers from scattering trash on the ground.

As part of the initiative’s goal to increase safety and perception of safety, Renton Police Department is set to increase patrol in downtown and have stricter code enforcement.

“Visible police presence can enhance the sense of safety,” Law said. “On the one hand we’re increasing the positive interaction our police officers have with the community downtown and on the other we are also increasing our enforcement efforts. We will also be working with businesses to take steps to reduce crime. “

To increase safety in the area, businesses will be encouraged to install motion-activated lights and private security cameras, and report security concerns issues to the Renton Police Department immediately.

Police Chief Kevin Milosevich said RPD recently apprehended a burglar in a business “thanks to a timely call and information gathered from a private security camera.”

“By installing a security camera at your business, you can help prevent crimes and in the event of a break-in help the police identify and arrest a burglar,” he said.

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