Lynnwood council looks ahead with city’s approved 2022-26 Strategic Plan

Lynnwood City Councilmember Josh Binda talks Monday night about his excitement for Lynnwood’s future.

Expressing excitement for new opportunities and a safer community, Lynnwood City Councilmembers at their Monday, July 11, business meeting unanimously approved the city’s 2022-26 Strategic Plan.

During council comments and prior to the plan’s approval, many councilmembers talked about Lynnwood’s potential to continue thriving.

“This is a wonderful city,” Councilmember Patrick Decker said. “We’re in a great location. We have tremendous resources that are both natural resources, but also resources that have been invested in by the city. But it does take all of us leaning together to continue to protect this community from individuals and entities and forces that would drag it down. And that also requires all of us to come together as a community to share that burden so together we can lift and raise Lynnwood and keep Lynnwood healthy, strong and a vibrant community.”

Councilmember Jim Smith agreed with Decker, saying community members need to rely on each other to ensure Lynnwood remains a safe and welcoming place to live.

“Patrick Decker is exactly right,” Smith said. “We have all the potential. But just because we have the potential, doesn’t mean we do all the right things. I think [by] working together, we’ll be able to do what is right.”

Councilmember Josh Binda said he’s excited to see what the future holds for the city in terms of growth. While many are unhappy about the city’s expansion plans, Binda said the growth will bring new opportunities and a better future for Lynnwood residents.

“I think it’s a very exciting time,” Binda said. “I know growth and housing and these topics can be scary. But I think [it’s] a very good time to start pushing these subjects and bringing them to the table because in the world we live in, in the economy we live in … housing and growth need to happen in the City of Lynnwood. I think it’s well overdue. I’m in full support of that way of directional growing.”

After their comments, councilmembers approved the city’s 2022-26 Strategic Plan.

The new plan does not contain any new policies, Lynnwood Strategic Planner Corbitt Loch said. It simply creates a guideline for the ones the council has already approved.

“I’m really impressed with your council comments this evening, because I think in a lot of ways, you were speaking to the essence of the Strategic Plan,” Loch told the council. “You were talking about planned growth and a safe community and great parks and you care about how we evolve. And that’s exactly what the Strategic Plan is intended to do.”

In addition, the council Monday unanimously repealed Chapter 2.34 of the Lynnwood Municipal Code (LMC), and approved a contract supplement for the Lynnwood Engineering Design Manual and a construction contract award for the Veteran’s Park Expansion Project.

The LMC chapter outlines regulations for the city’s fire department, which has not been functioning since the regional fire authority was approved for Lynnwood and unincorporated areas of southwest Snohomish County in 2017.

Loch said repealing the chapter would not affect the area of city code regarding fire marshal regulations or the fire pension board, both things the city still refers to regularly. Loch has been working to remove items that are not needed to keep the city code as concise as possible.

Councilmember Julieta Altamirano-Crosby also made a motion to create a special work session on Wednesday, Aug. 10, so the council can attend a Let’s Talk About Safety meeting scheduled at the same time. Altamirano-Crosby said she felt it best to have councilmembers attend to show that the council is taking resident safety seriously and is actively working toward a more protected community.

The motion passed unanimously, and the council will hold its Aug. 10 work session during the safety meeting, scheduled for 6-7:30 p.m. at Silver Creek Family Church.

In other business, the council thanked Lynnwood Assistant City Administrator Art Ceniza for his years of service to the city. Ceniza is retiring this year after 12 years of work in Lynnwood and 27 overall in the greater Seattle area.

“It feels like these past 27 years has flown by,” Ceniza said.

Ceniza said he has been planning to retire for the past few years and finally felt it was the right time to do so. However, he added he will immensely miss his colleagues, who added much value to his career.

The council also received a presentation from the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department. According to Recreation Manager Bill Haugen, the city’s aquatic center was only closed for three months at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff worked hard to reopen the center as soon as possible, and when they did, the center had over 800 daily pool users. On top of that, Haugen said there were no recorded outbreaks attributed to aquatic center use.

“Through the support that the city was able to provide for us, we have become the leader in the aquatics area for how to do this kind of thing safely,” Haugen said. “Through the entire pandemic, we remained open seven days a week. We did things right. And it was really impressive.”

The meeting ended with an executive session that was closed to the public.

–By Lauren Reichenbach

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