The state of the city is very good, Renton Mayor Denis Law said at the 2018 State of the City.
He addressed a full room at Renton Technical College Wednesday morning and admitted that he’s said the same address multiple times over the years.
“But it’s a fact. Things are going well in our city,” he said.
Despite the recent news headlines regarding natural disasters, and mass shootings, Law said the headlines regarding Renton have been positive, citing stories about recent donations for the Family First Community Center, Valley Medical Cancer Center breaking ground, Hazen High School orchestra being recognized for academic success, the city’s downtown revitalization efforts and more.
“I admit, we’re only a heartbeat away from experiencing a tragic event,” he said, addressing the public fear regarding financial security, affordable housing and personal safety.
City efficiency: Law said the city staff has been working to “increase efficiency and the service we provide to our residents and business community.”
He praised staff for their work.
Law also addressed City Administrative Officer Jay Covington, who announced recently he was retiring. After highlighting few of his accomplishments — including co-founding Communities in Schools of Renton and his efforts in Renton Community Foundation — Law presented Covington with a Key to the City.
Family first community center: Law highlighted the upcoming community center — that’s a brainchild of the city and Seattle Seahawk Doug Baldwin — and touched upon the need for the service in the area.
“As you know, we annexed the Cascade/Benson Hill community in 2008. This area was woefully underserved by King County. It lacked in most basic services such as public safety and road repairs, as well as parks and recreation programs to serve thousands of local residents,” he said.
Law recounted how a similar program made a difference in Baldwin’s life when he was young and how Baldwin’s committed to make a personal donation of $1 million if the city could figure out a way to make the dream into a reality.
He highlighted the various partners, businesses and organizations that have contributed to the project.
“Thanks to their efforts, this puts us at $10 million towards our $15 million goal, enabling us to move forward with the design and construction of this facility,” Law said.
Renton Police Department: Law said the city has been able to hire more police officers and that the city has “made it a priority to build a positive relationship between the police and our citizens.”
He highlighted Renton Police Department’s use of technology, especially in deploying drones to investigate emergency situations.
“This technology has greatly improved the accuracy of gathering data at crime scenes while also offering tools that reduce costs and improve safety for the public and our officers,” Law said.
Economic growth and infrastructure: The business scene continues to grow in the Renton and it has been the city’s priority to help businesses locate here, Law said.
“The progress we have made is envied by many other cities in this county,” he said.
Law highlighted the opening of Lake Washington Hyatt Regency, Hampton Inn and CarMax, as well as Kaiser Permanente’s move to their new office campus (“Kaiser alone invested $128 million in Renton and added about 1,200 jobs in Phase II,” he said. “When complete, there will be nearly 2,300 jobs at the Renton campus.”), changing Main Avenue into a two-way street and the Sunset Revitalization efforts.
He also talked about ongoing projects within the city, including the Kennydale Fire Station, Sartori Elementary School, Valley Medical Center’s cancer treatment center and more.
Law also talked about ongoing infrastructure improvements in the city.
“We made progress with our roads last year. We were successful at obtaining enough grants to supplement local tax dollars to complete over $16 million in road improvements,” he said.
He also highlighted the “Bird Island” at the sound end of Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, the purchase of five acres of May Creek corridor on Lake Washington Boulevard and Eastside Rail Corridor improvements.
In conclusion: “In closing I want to restate that the State of the City remains strong,” Law said, wrapping up his address.
He highlighted the various entities and organizations that are making economic and social progress in the city and said Renton is “leading by example when it comes to being an inclusive city that genuinely values and supports all members of our diverse community.”