City Manager’s Report
For week ending Feb. 13, 2021

Snow. Snow Friday and Saturday. FEMA and King County Emergency Management admit they don’t really know how much or where. The city will prioritize and plow main corridors as listed. Snow Plow Route

King County Assessor John Wilson to hold Zoom meeting to discuss first property tax bills since onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  King County Assessor John Wilson will conduct a Zoom call to discuss the release of the 2021 property tax bills, the first since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. King County will begin mailing tax bills on February 16thWhen:  Wednesday, February 17, 10:00 A.M.  Zoom link: Click here for Zoom link

King County Metro resumption of service survey. As the country and county continue to transition through the pandemic’s recovery phases, King County Metro is making plans to gradually restore suspended service.  In Spring 2020, Metro suspended a significant amount of transit service due to the outbreak of COVID-19. As a result, ridership and revenue declined.  Despite challenges, Metro maintained a regional transit network to serve the more than one in four of our customers who never stopped using Metro to access work and essential needs. Metro reports that current ridership remains lower than before the pandemic, and some service suspensions remain in place across our system.  Looking forward, public transit is at the heart of a successful recovery from the health and economic crises caused by COVID-19.  As the region recovers and daily, local travel increases, Metro plans to systematically restore suspended transit service.  In order to make the most informed service decisions, Metro is seeking community feedback through a short survey on Metro’s route to recovery, due by March 8, 2021. Completing this survey will help determine service changes in September 2021 and beyond.  The survey is available in six languages (Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Arabic, Korean, and English). The links to the in-language surveys/pages follow:  English survey  Spanish survey   Traditional Chinese survey   Vietnamese survey   Korean survey   Arabic survey.

City Council passes resolution to end Recreation Center use. After Council workshop in January on this issue, the Normandy Park City Council passed a resolution at the February 9, 2021, Regular City Council Meeting to remove the Rec Center building and, in the near term, re-seed the area with grass. Two current engineering studies and one current geotechnical report identify the seismic risk of this building. Parents cannot legally waive liability for their child’s use of this building.  The city will temporarily continue support for its city preschool, historically located in the Recreation Center, for up to a one school year, as the city preschool develops operational independence as a nonprofit entity.  The city will encourage Recreation Center business entities to relocate through assistance from the Southside Seattle Chamber of Commerce (the city is a Chamber member). The city will help other Rec Center activities, such as pickleball, basketball and bridge find non-city venues if necessary. In the near future, electricity, utilities and heat will be disconnected from the Recreation Center and permanently re-routed solely to the City Hall. The Recreation Center was a government-to-government property transfer from Highline School District, a largely free asset to generations of Normandy Park residents. The Recreation Center has truly been a gift to the community and has outlived its normal life cycle by decades.

All long-time Recreation Center participants are invited to work with the City Council as it determines a path forward from the Miller Hull conceptual design and as it adopts financial strategies for new government facilities.There are many possibilities and levels of cost, depending on what citizens ultimately vote and/or donate to do.  The current building removal will not be paid with General Fund dollars, such as those used for police services, but instead, chiefly with Real Estate Excise Tax dollars (REET), which can only be used for capital projects.  Future indoor recreation will require investment, whether donation or voted bonds or both.  The next year will be about proposing a financial direction and selecting affordable, desired, government and recreation services from the architectural menu developed through the Miller Hull Report. This will likely take some time. In recent days, the city has subsidized a net $50K-$60K per year to provide Recreation Center operations of all types. Engineering analysis states that refurbishment of the Recreation Center would only be 60% seismically resilient compared to a new building. Even a partial rebuild could easily cost $1.5 million or more, work that would need to be started immediately according to engineering reports.  A full-fledged, multi-purpose gym on this site is over $5 million in cost. There are other indoor and outdoor possibilities for less investment cost.  For instance, if not the envisioned Miller Hull gym, how about something like Pioneer Park Pavilion (500+ occupancy), but not as big?  Pioneer Park Pavilion Or, perhaps like the Yelm Community Center (250+ occupancy), as a less expensive option to an indoor multi-use gymnasium?  Yelm Community Center  (Imagine a different roofline.) Regardless, continuation of indoor recreation requires significant investment.

Airport Marketing. The city will continue use of the diorama at Sea-Tac Airport for no cost. We will need to update the text message information on the diorama in the near future, but that will not affect the content of the diorama itself.

WRIA 9 concludes watershed study. A two year-long, Washington state-mandated, watershed study involving Normandy Park is nearly authorized by all WRIA 9 cities and agencies.  This study is about the degree to which water withdrawal through private wells can be permitted without negatively impacting the Green River, its tributaries, and the salmon life cycle.  (The study did not have much to do with Normandy Park’s direct watershed interests.)  For most of the two years of the study, Matt Goehring, WRIA 9 Watershed Ecosystem Forum, has represented the City of Normandy Park’s, the City of Black Diamond’s and the City of Tukwila’s interests, although Parks Director Amanda Leon and I have also attended at times.  This study is highly technical and lengthy, but if you wish, you can read it.  WRIA 9 Watershed Study

– Mark E. Hoppen, City Manager
City of Normandy Park
801 SW 174th Street
Normandy Park, WA 98166
(206) 248-8246 (Direct Phone)