During an hour-long address to the public, Enumclaw Mayor Jan Molinaro told of last year’s accomplishments, this year’s plans and his hopes for the next few years.
The evening of Feb. 24 marked the third time Molinaro has delivered a “State of the City” speech. In COVID-era fashion, he spoke from a vacant council chambers at City Hall; the message was broadcast on ECTV, livestreamed on the city website and remains available at cityofenumclaw.net.
Like every year, Enumclaw intends to tackle projects both big and small during 2021. Here’s a quick rundown, provide by the mayor.
This year will bring a centennial celebration for Enumclaw City Hall, sitting at 1339 Griffin Ave. Molinaro is hoping COVID restrictions have eased enough to allow for public tours of the 100-year old building, including visits by school groups. In council chambers, the existing dais is being replaced by a model crafted by Enumclaw High students. Outside, the building is getting some brick repairs.
In the world of the Public Works Department the most visible 2021 project will be the addition of a roundabout at the intersection of Semanski Street and Warner Avenue. The busy corner is home to Enumclaw High and becomes highly congested when cars, buses and pedestrians all arrive, or leave, at the same time. Currently, vehicles on Semanski sail through the intersection while those traveling on Warner often sit and wait.
Molinaro said it appears Enumclaw’s housing inventory will continue to grow. For 2021, he said, the city expects to process permits for another 150 homes.
The city’s Parks and Recreation Department has a couple of major projects on its ’21 agenda, including completion of a new city park in the Elk Meadows development. There’s also the possibility – it’s being considered, at least – for expansion of the Boise Creek Sixplex.
On the cultural services side of the department, it’s hoped that COVID restrictions will allow for a return of the Evenings on Railroad concert series. The weekly outdoor concerts were staged in Rotary Centennial Park during the summer of 2019 but the pandemic wiped away plans last summer.
WHAT ABOUT 2020?
It was a COVID world and Enumclaw was not exempt from the ravages of the pandemic. In response to the health nightmare and everything that came with it, Molinaro offered “a huge thank-you to all 134 city employees” who contributed to the local battle.
The city spent plenty of time and effort – and more than $567,000 – to make Enumclaw a bit more livable. Molinaro noted most of that money was funneled the city’s way through the CARES Act, with a King County contribution as well. The money helped the city make payroll, provide economic support to those in need and take steps to comply with COVID-mandated measures.
On other items, the mayor highlighted the five Lifesaving Awards earned by members of the police department; the agreement reached with the school district that allowed for much-needed repairs at the Enumclaw Aquatic Center; the city contribution to the popular Sundays On Cole; the Expo Hometown Holiday event, a drive-through experience that filled in for the cancelled downtown holiday parade; and improvements to the downtown streetscape.
During the next few years, Molinaro said, he hopes to see a renewed effort to have a downtown pavilion built. Such a development has been talked about for years as a way to attract people to the heart of Enumclaw.
Also, the mayor is pitching the idea of a “first responder plaza” on the grounds of Enumclaw City Hall.