In first State of City address, mayor focuses on Lynnwood’s finances, growth, inclusivity

Mayor Christine Frizzell

Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell delivered her first State of the City Address Tuesday morning, talking about the city’s finances, construction updates and the Lynnwood’s post-COVID recovery.

Despite the pandemic taking a toll on everyone in Lynnwood, Frizzell said during her remote address delivered via video that there were some silver linings that came from the shutdown. The mayor said she learned the importance of technology, found a renewed value in her family and friends and realized the significance of having a healthy work/life balance.

“We cannot pour from an empty cup,” she said. “In order to show up for others, we first must show up for ourselves.”

In terms of safety, Frizzell said the city is seeing an increase in crime of almost every nature. She assured the community that city staff are working closely with the Lynnwood Police Department to ensure the city remains safe and welcoming. However, she said police have been understaffed for quite some time, and while the department is working to hire more officers, the process is lengthy.

Frizzell encouraged citizens to do their part to prevent crime, such as installing security cameras and motion detection lights in addition to getting more familiar with their neighbors.

“Criminal activity is not welcome here,” Frizzell said. “If you see something, please say something.”

Mayor Frizzell spoke about the growth the city is seeing and said she is excited about what is to come.

“What once was just planned on paper is quickly materializing,” she said.

She acknowledged that citizens have had to deal with construction noise, road closures, detours and many other things while the city expands, especially in terms of the 196th Street Southwest improvements.

“We are now about halfway through the project, and I want to thank you, thank you, thank you for your patience during construction,” she said. “We know it’s been inconvenient, but these improvements are very necessary.”

Frizzell also talked about the apartment buildings going up throughout City Center.

Under the state’s Growth Management Act, the City of Lynnwood is set to house 18,000 new residents in approximately 6,500 units within the next 13 years. While those are big numbers, the mayor said, around 3,700 of those new units are already permitted or under construction.

Growth is coming, and Frizzell said it’s better for the city to be prepared to accommodate it rather than trying to fight it.

With new growth also comes new business opportunities. Noting that small businesses were hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic, Frizzell urged residents to help small business owners get back on their feet.

“We encourage you to think local, buy local,” she said. In a promise to herself, Frizzell has decided to start shopping locally as much as possible and has thoroughly enjoyed making better connections with the community’s business owners.

In addition, Frizzell talked about the city’s finances. During the beginning of the pandemic, the city council and all the city departments found ways to limit spending and preserve the funds the city already had.

Along with this, sales tax is the city’s highest form of revenue, which Frizzell said contributed to helping Lynnwood stay afloat.

“Thankfully, Lynnwood’s finances have weathered the COVID storm,” she said. “[However], we cannot and should not be an isolated city. We cannot do this alone.”

Frizzell said the city constantly works with neighborhood partners, the state and various organizations to organize funding for the city’s projects. The city recently received $12 million from the Washington State capital budget for the construction of the city’s Community Recovery Center, $10 million from the Move Ahead Washington Transportation Package for updates to the Poplar Way Bridge, and $1 million in grants for the completion of Phase 2 of the Scriber Creek Trail Redevelopment Project.

Mayor Frizzell said she continues to lead the city in a way that is welcoming to all.

“As your mayor, I am fully committed to creating a more equitable city, and I am joined in this work by our department directors and our city staff,” she said. “We are all committed to increasing equity and removing barriers that people may experience as they attempt to access city services, participate and live their lives as members of our community.”

The city has recently created a new group, Lynnwood Employees Embracing Diversity (LEED), focused on cultivating and promoting a welcoming, safe and inclusive workplace for all employees.

According to Frizzell, six of the 19 city staff recently hired are women and eight of them identify as a person of color.

The city is also conducting training for staff to become more comfortable talking about race, inequities and finding solutions to create justice.

“I stand with our communities of color and all those who have been underserved and marginalized,” Frizzell said. “We have come a long way but recognize there is still a long way to go.”

The mayor encouraged everyone to continue being involved in some way, whether by attending city council meetings, giving feedback, staying informed on the city’s updates or voting.

“We encourage everyone to join in and help make Lynnwood a city where truly all are welcome,” Frizzell said. “We want to make Lynnwood more loveable, more livable, more safe, more welcoming. And to do this, we need your help.”

–By Lauren Reichenbach

  1. I have a comment on the South Lynnwood Park. Has any council person actually crossed the street at 60th and 208th? Marked cross walk and stop signs are a joke. I have watched cars not even stop on more occasions. Plus 208th street is the official race track on any given day with speeds 50+days and evening, would you feel safe crossing the street?

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