Story by Ralph Nichols
Photos by Scott Schaefer
Highline cities have weathered the recession and now their economic futures look bright, mayors of four area cities told members of the Southwest King County Chamber of Commerce on Friday, April 11.
Mayors and Jim Haggerton, Tukwila, Mia Gregerson, SeaTac, Dave Kaplan, Des Moines, and Lucy Krakowiak, Burien all said at the annual luncheon that city revenues are increasing as new economic development boosts their local economies.
Major strides were taken in removing criminal activity from Tukwila International Blvd. – improving its character and setting the stage for economic development, something he is “especially proud” of, Haggerton said.
Last August some 400 law enforcement agents converged on an area along the boulevard zoned as an urban renewal area, where they made numerous arrests and seized illegal guns and drugs. The city subsequently legally seized the properties where the illegal activities were taking place.
Now, as part of a city priority “to fulfill our vision,” Tukwila is buying the seized properties, Haggerton said. They will then be demolished, “and we already have several good businesses that want to move” into those locations.
This area neighbors Tukwila Village at Tukwila International Blvd. and S. 144th St., a long-planned six-acre mixed use project for which ground is now expected to be broken this summer, he added. The development is a two-phase housing-condominium project that will be built concurrently.
Going up in the expanded Southcenter Mall area will be three new hotels, Haggerton said, including a 19-story story where Circuit City was located before the company went out of business.
And a nearby pedestrian bridge for both foot traffic and bicycles will be built over the Green River.
Haggerton is pleased with progress made by city staff in implementing the strategic plan of a 2012 task force that focused on ways to provide local services more efficiently and improve communications with the public.
Despite a growing city population, Tukwila has the same number of full-time employees today as 10 years ago, Haggerton noted. This has been accomplished by finding efficiencies to handle the added work load, including “cross-departmental teams to address many issues.”
With many long-term city employees approaching retirement, Tukwila has begun a “succession plan” to replace them – something he encouraged the other mayors to consider.
Haggerton also recounted his recent sobering experience when he visited the Oso mudslide area and told local officials there that communities well south of them are supporting them in any way possible.
The beginning of Sound Transit’s light rail line extension southward from the SeaTac/Airport station and the start of work on the Angle Lake light rail station at International Blvd. and S. 200th St. made this past year “eventful,” said Gregerson.
As did the passage last November of Proposition 1, which mandates a $15 minimum wage for certain employees in SeaTac and requires city government to regulate the initiative’s wage and benefit requirements.
“The increase in revenues and permit fees has been phenomenal,” Gregerson continued. “All this economic development revolves around new infrastructure,” which is largely financed by the Legislature’s 2013 transportation funding package.
“Permits are also the result of our booming economy as we come out of the recession … 2013 was very successful with revenues almost recovered to pre-recession levels.”
Gregerson said the Angle Lake light rail station, in addition to a large parking area, will feature a number of amenities including pedestrian- and bike-friendly facilities that link with the Des Moines Creek Trail, a variety of shops, and a public plaza.
Another significant transportation project that she noted, one that will “unlock five million square feet of land for economic development,” is a new 24th Ave./26th Ave. connector – being developed in cooperation with Sound Transit and the Port – to provide vehicle access from the south to Sea-Tac Airport.
Enhancing SeaTac’s designation as a Tourism Promotion Area – as a significant regional hub with the international airport, light rail, and Interstate 5 – is the addition of lodging facilities with a major expansion at Cedarbrook Lodge and plans to build the Hyatt Place, a new hotel.
She added that last year’s merger of the SeaTac and Kent fire departments was a “seamless transition” that continues to go well.
“It’s been a very eventful year,” Kaplan declared. “Our best days are ahead.”
Delayed time and again by the recession, the Des Moines Creek Business Park immediately south of Sea-Tac Airport “is now ready for development,” Kaplan said. Ground will be broken for both the Phase I and “a lot of” the Phase II projects this year due to “strong tenant interest.”
He expressed appreciation to the Port of Seattle, which owns the business park property, for its cooperation with the city in the development plans.
As Des Moines readies for this construction, the city’s Gateway Project to improve highway access from Pacific Highway S. to the business park just off S. 216th St. is nearing completion and will be finished yet this year.
Kaplan said another major construction project, the five-star Artemis Hotel along Pacific Highway S., is on schedule with foundation work now done – and is expected to open in time for the U.S. Open golf tournament at the new Chambers Bay course near Tacoma in June 2015.
Highline Place Project, a transit-oriented development at Highline Community College adjacent to the planned Sound Transit light rail route, is in the planning stages.
For the first time, he continued, the City Council has selected a contractor to build “a five-acre prime waterfront development” at the Des Moines Marina. The five-story multi-use building will cater to senior living.
Marina expansion “ties in with renovated, historic Beach Park, Kaplan said, where the dining hall – a popular attraction – will be upgraded with an $850 million grant from the Washington State Historical Society.
Significantly, added Kaplan, local crime went down in 2013 and the police department in cooperation with other agencies is targeting human trafficking.
“Our budget improves as the economy improves,” including a marked increase in sales tax revenues, Krakowiak said.
Ninety percent of the condominiums in the long-vacant Town Square condo-retail complex downtown have now been sold – and two new residential complexes, one for senior housing, are planned for development on vacant parcels in Town Square, Krakowiak continued.
“We have a great town center that’s starting to come together,” she observed.
Grant-funded construction of a major water retention facility immediately north of Sea-Tac Airport’s third runway, the acquisition of adjacent properties, and planning for an off ramp from SR 518 to Des Moines Memorial Drive all are readying Burien’s Northeast Redevelopment Area (NERA) for economic development there.
And the $10 million Phase II Seahurst Park Rehabilitation Project, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to restore the north beach to its natural state will be completed later this summer.
In addition, Krakowiak added, Burien has grown to the point where it can now bring its public works equipment and facilities in-house. Previously this was contracted with King County.
Of special significance, she also noted, Burien – with its strong arts community – is partnering with the Highline School District for an Arts in Education program.
Local Resident, Ernst and Young award winner and Venture Capitalist of the Year award winner Mary Fisher has brought ColoreScience to Normandy Park, and will be holding a Grand Opening on Sunday, March 30.
Fisher, a longtime Normandy Park resident, who also serves as CEO of Colorescience, has brought the Luxury Mineral Makeup Line to The Normandy Park Town Center.
Mary has more than 25 years in Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology, and headed the acquisition of Colorescience while she was the acting CEO of SkinMedica Skincare. With Fisher at the helm, it was noted to be the fasted growing medical skincare line for six years running, during the economic hard times when doctors hit hard by the economy were successful because she came along side of them ,to show them how to succeed. As the leader of the physician dispensed Skincare, it was acquired by Allergan in 2012. Fisher Continued on with Colorescience. Colorescience compliments great skin care products because it continues the efficacious ingredients through the makeup line, while protecting it from the Sun. It is especially effective for pre and post procedure while offering much needed calming, concealing and protection, so you can go about life as usual.
Colorescience performance cosmetics are a marriage of colore and science featuring good for you ingredients such as peptides, antioxidants, vitamins, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in efficacious amounts. They were created to help you achieve a flawless, even complexion without using any bad for you ingredients. The pure minerals deliver protection from the damaging effects of the sun and environment with SPF 20, 30 and 50 in a unique to Colorescience self dispensing mineral brush that allows users to simply brush over their face every couple of hours as sunscreen should be applied. This has earned the Sunforgettable Sunscreen multiple Seals awarded by the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than any other brand.
MEET THE SEAGALS AT THE GRAND OPENING ON SUNDAY, MARCH 30!
WHAT: Colorescience will be celebrating its red carpet grand opening Sunday March 30, 2014 with makeup application appointments, Luxury gift Raffles and an appearance and performance by the Seattle Seagals.
WHEN: Sunday, March 30, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
WHERE: 19987 1st Avenue South, Suite 105, Normandy Park Wa 98048
INFO: Please call 206-592-6045 for an appointment; also visit their website here: https://www.colorescience.com
On Wednesday, Feb. 26, Seattle Southside Visitor Services (SSVS), the official tourism organization for the cities of Tukwila, SeaTac and Des Moines, opened a new Visitor Center in Westfield Southcenter, which will be able to assist and influence more travelers in the Seattle Southside region.
Complimentary Visitor Center services include restaurant recommendations; hotel reservation assistance and referrals; directions; brochures; maps and sightseeing guides; transportation guidance; advice on museums and entertainment – and details on how to get tickets; tour bookings; tips, suggestions and advice on area attractions and ticket information; and expert knowledge on local events, sports, festivals and activities.
Photo Credit: ELITECollective
Seattle Soutside also reports that 2013 travel impact numbers are increasingly positive, with tourist spending hitting a record $659.2 million in 2013:
The annual study compiled by research firm Dean Runyan Associates shows the best year on record for visitor spending, local and state tax receipts and tourism employment. Travel spending increased 5 percent from 2012 to 2013, marking the third consecutive year of strong growth in the Seattle Southside travel industry.
“It’s extremely encouraging to see solid growth in the travel industry in Seattle Southside, despite the Washington State Tourism Office closing in 2011,” said Katherine Kertzman, executive director of Seattle Southside Visitor Services. “We’re now at pre-recessionary levels and expect to see continued growth thanks to the incredible partnerships that have been established in the Southside.”
With 5,320 people employed by the tourism industry in Seattle Southside and $31.3 million generated in local tax receipts, this report shows how the travel industry is a key contributor to the economic well-being of the Seattle Southside region. As the fourth-largest industry in Washington State, tourism supports small businesses, strengthens local economies, creates jobs and brings in additional tax revenues.
The full Dean Runyan Travel Impacts report is available here (PDF file).
Highlights from the report include:
- Travel spending in Seattle Southside increased by 5 percent from 2012 to 2013 (preliminary).
- Earnings, employment and travel-generated tax receipts have also continued to increase.
- The overall trend in visitor volume corresponds to the trends in travel spending.
- Lodging sales have recovered to pre-recessionary levels.
- Almost three-quarters of all visitor nights in Seattle Southside are attributable to hotel/motel stays. This percentage is much greater than for King County and Washington state.
- Visitor air arrivals (domestic only) to SeaTac airport have also increased for the fourth year in a row.
- Day travel represents less than five percent of all visitor spending in the Seattle Southside.
About Seattle Southside Visitor Services
Seattle Southside Visitor Services (SSVS) is the leading tourism and marketing organization in South King County. The program offered jointly by the cities of Tukwila, SeaTac, and Des Moines, is responsible for competitively marketing the area as an ideal travel destination for tourists who wish to explore Western Washington. For more information, please visit www.seattlesouthside.com.
REMINDER: Get $5 off dog bathing/grooming every ‘Thrifty Thursday’ at Advertiser Pretty Paws, Burien’s Oldest Grooming Shop!
Can’t make it on Thursday? No problem – Owner Kathy Graf is open 7 days a week and is offering $3.00 savings with a South King Media coupon (this coupon cannot be combined with any other offer):
Give Kathy a call today at 206-444-4656 to book your pet’s ticket to pretty!
123 SW 158th Street
Burien, WA 98166
Rainier Chapter, Order of DeMolay is hosting an Open House on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m in Tukwila.
DeMolay is the premier youth organization dedicated to teaching young men between 12 to 21 years of age to be better persons and better leaders. DeMolay members learn leadership skills, public speaking, time management and financial management. In addition to these skills, DeMolay also offers an expansive social and athletic program with the opportunity for civic awareness, responsibility and character development through a variety of self-directed, real-world applications and activities.
If you are interested in learning more, please join us at the Delta Masonic Center in Tukwila at 13034 41st Ave S, Tukwila, WA 98168.
Please contact Corey Kent at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
The Boeing Employees Choir will be featured at a special holiday concert this Friday evening, Dec. 6 in Burien. The free public event is a benefit for the Highline Music4Life™ program and is sponsored in-part by 4Culture.
“The Boeing ambassadors of goodwill are a wonderful way to start the holiday season,” said event coordinator Julie Nelson of Windermere Real Estate and the Burien-White Center Rotary Club. “They have made five concert tours in Europe, one to Australia and New Zealand and will tour Scotland and Ireland in 2015. We can enjoy them right here in Burien.”
Under the direction of Dr. David Chrysler, the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Lake Burien Presbyterian Church, located at 15003 14th Av. SW in Burien. The choir sings approximately 20 concerts annually in a repertoire that spans Bach to Broadway. In case you’re a Boeing employee, retiree or family member, the choir is accepting applications from singers who might be interested in that Scotland/Ireland trip.
Highline Music4Life is the local organization that acquires “lovingly used” musical instruments, gets them repaired if needed, and provides them free of charge to Highline Public Schools for use by students of low income families. The program was created two years ago by the school board and is also sponsored by the Rotary clubs of Des Moines, Burien-White Center and SeaTac.
“You don’t have to be a Rotarian to support Music4Life,” added David Endicott, the organization’s President / CEO. “All that’s necessary is that you understand the unique value that instrumental music plays in the life and education of a child.”
More than 250 musical instruments have been acquired for Highline Schools’ kids.
Research now shows that young people who participate in instrumental music programs tend to do better in math, science, history, literature, languages (both English and foreign), even in computer science and other desirable academic disciplines, Endicott said. “And that’s in addition to what it teaches them in discipline and teamwork.”
Besides the Highline program, Music4Life also operates programs supporting Seattle, Shoreline and Edmonds Public Schools. New programs are expected soon for other school districts in the area. The initiative acquires used instruments from the garages or attics of adults who understand that their highest and best use is to put them back into play. With adequate resources, Music4Life can also buy new musical instruments for school districts. Endicott emphasizes that resources developed in any community are tracked separately and used for the benefit of the students in that community, according to donor wishes, whether it’s Highline or any of the others.
Currently, 75 percent of all fifth and sixth grade students in Highline Public Schools who participate in instrumental music programs are from families that are income-eligible. The Highline Music4Life™ program intends to assist at least half that number.
Highline Music4Life is supported in-part by grants from 4Culture, First Choice Health, Garvey Schubert Barer, the Highline Schools Foundation for Excellence, local Rotary clubs and other local community leaders.
For more information, visit http://highlinemusic4life.org.
Story and photos by Pam Fernald
September 20th was the second annual Taste of Tukwila and I attended with some friends. What a fun community mini event! You could get a cultural ‘taste’ of music, dance and food all at once.
If you put a sticker on the world map to indicate where you were originally from, you got 3 free tickets to sample 3 different ethnic foods. My sticker went on Tukwila, my husband’s went on Maine and my friend’s stickers went on Mongolia and South Dakota.
I tasted the Hawaiian donut, a Kenyan veggie Somosa and Japanese yakisoba. Very tasty indeed. There was also tacos, tamales, chicken skewers, Thai crunch salad bites, Sudanese kunafa dessert and more.
There were information tables staffed with Council members, Police, Waste Management, Parks and Rec, Human services folks as well as tables for the children’s clothing bank and Henna artists.
If you’ve seen other events I’ve posted in the past, you know I have a fondness for colorful, twirling dancing and costumes. I was in the right place at the Taste of Tukwila!
Kids from Tukwila Elementary and Showalter Middle schools entertained with several dances including their version of the Mexican Hat Dance. While I was meandering through the information and food tables, there was break dancing and some hip hop music going on and Foster High students performed songs. Unfortunately I didn’t get photos of those performances because I was feeding my face, but I did get photos of the Mariachi Band, the kids dancing and a most amazing traditional Aztec dance group called Ce Atl Tonallia, which also included awesome drumming. https://www.facebook.com/pages/CeAtl-Tonalli/101392836689570
They danced for almost an hour and just before they finished, it started to pour down rain.
Enjoy my photos: