Mayor’s State of the City address paints a big and bright future for Lynnwood

Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell delivers her State of the City address Friday. (Photo courtesy City of Lynnwood)

“2023 is a year full of promise and excitement. I can tell you that the state of our city is healthy, strong and robust.” 

Those were among the words delivered by Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell during her 2023 State of the City speech Friday morning. The mayor spoke to hundreds of attendees about Lynnwood’s challenges in 2022 and its burgeoning future. Key points in the message were growth, transportation and safety. The event was emceed by Garry Clark, executive director of the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County. Lynnwood City Council President Shannon Sessions and Vice President Julieta Altamirano-Crosby also spoke, taking the opportunity to honor nine women for their contributions to the city and community. 

Garry Clark, executive director of Economic Alliance Snohomish County, was the emcee for the morning. (Photo by Jasmine Contreras-Lewis)

The first in-person State of the City address since 2019 – and the first that Frizzell has delivered in person since she was elected mayor — the event was hosted in the newly renamed Lynnwood Event Center.

Frizzell began by working through the events of 2022, her first year as Lynnwood’s mayor after four years of service on the city council. Lynnwood faced many unique challenges last year, including the “constraints of the global supply chain, rising food costs, emboldened criminals, gang violence and continued inflation,” she said. But number one on the list of concerns is the city’s continued growth.

City leadership prepared for the anticipated growth by updating its planning guide, ensuring that  residential and business areas are developing for the upcoming light rail station and updating city code to be more efficient, the mayor said. Additionally, hiring city staff has become more intentional to reflect the growing diversity seen in Lynnwood.

Frizzell spoke about several developing projects within the city, many of which featured the upcoming City Center. Last fall, the city purchased a plot of land that in a few years will become a new park – a green space with a stage where residents can come together.

 The City Center development will span 13 acres, extending from the Lynnwood Link light rail station to the Alderwood Mall, and will feature The District, the city’s walkable arts, entertainment and retail hub.

In November 2022, the city unveiled a Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in Veterans Park, an area revitalized by dedicated volunteers, Frizzell said. The monument honors families who have sacrificed a loved one in service of their country. Work continues on the Community Justice Center and the Community Recovery Center. The end is in sight for construction on 196th Street Southwest; the project will be complete this fall.

Rendering of Poplar Bridge

Through grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board and a state transportation bill, the Poplar Way Bridge project has received $40 million in funding, the mayor said. The bridge will connect Poplar Way and 196th Street, going north over Interstate 5 and connecting to 33rd Avenue West close to the mall. 

“It will provide long-term remedies for our transportation challenges by reducing congestion, travel times and greenhouse gas emissions while increasing overall traffic safety,” said Frizzell. 

To use the light rail, people will need to reach the station, so the city is redeveloping Scriber Creek Trail along 200th. The redevelopment will give residents a non-motorized option for traveling to and from the City Center Station, the mayor said.

Rendering of boardwalk section through Scriber Creek Park.

Switching to public safety, Frizzell stated that “retail theft and vandalism have become a disturbing trend in recent years.” In response, Lynnwood police have formed a partnership with the Everett Police Department to create a violent crime reduction unit. In addition, an internal working group has been formed to prevent gang violence, focusing on Lynnwood’s youth. The city council also hosted two “Let’s Talk About Safety” events in which city directors and the mayor spoke directly with the community.

Mental health has become a pressing issue in recent years and Frizzell says much-needed treatment is on the way. The Community Recovery Center, to be run by RI International, is a separate but co-located facility being constructed at the site of the Community Justice Center. The center, which has received $16.9 million in funding, will treat mental health issues and substance-use disorder. 

The city also recently banned open-air drug use in public and funded a proposal to crack down on graffiti and vandalism. Frizzell asked that residents report issues in the parks or around the city so that they can be addressed. 

Rendering of the upcoming Community Recovery Center

According to the mayor, the local economy is prospering. Lynnwood represents only 5% of the population of Snohomish County but generates over 20% of the sales tax for the entire county, a testament to the retail success that the city has found. Frizzell stated that she and the Lynnwood City Council share a sense of “financial prudence and cautious optimism” when considering their expenditures. 

She also listed many celebrations and events planned for 2023. Here are a few.

  • An April 15 job fair will be hosted at the Lynnwood Event Center.
  • The Annual Fair on 44th will return in September.
  • Celebrate! — a new summer event — will focus on adult community members with live music, games and a beer and wine garden. 
  • Once a quarter, Frizzell goes to the Senior Center to have root beer floats and talk with older community members.
  • The Recreation team is planning a list of summer and fall events, including summer camp activities, Sandlot Cinema, Shakespeare in the Park, the Halloween Hullabaloo and more.
  • Lynnwood University is making a comeback after five years. The “curriculum” will show students of all ages what it takes to run a city, give an inside look of city facilities and meet the staff that run them. The classes will meet once a week for five weeks. 
The Fair on 44th. (Lynnwood Today file photo)

In all parts of her speech, Frizzell acknowledged and thanked the people responsible for making the city run. She thanked first responders, firefighters, volunteers, the staff who planned Friday’s event, construction workers, those who gathered the funding for Lynnwood’s ambitious plans and the crews who worked in turbulent weather to ensure that the rest of the city could function. One brave employee, the mayor said, returned a malfunctioning snowplow all the way from the Alderwood Mall to the maintenance facility in South Lynnwood by driving it in reverse. Frizzell finished her speech by thanking regular citizens — the people of Lynnwood. 

Women being honored Friday pose for a group shot with the mayor. (Photo courtesy City of Lynnwood)

March is International Women’s Month, so leadership used the gathering to thank outstanding women in the community. Altamirano-Crosby and Sessions introduced nine women who went above and beyond, including former Lynnwood Mayor Tina Roberts-Martinez, Selam Habte, Svetlana Spivak, Maria De Jesus Garcia, Shawneri Guzman, Alissa Jones, Myra Rintamaki, Vivian Dong and Joanne Davis. They received certificates acknowledging their service.

–By Jasmine Contreras-Lewis

  1. I was unable to attend this event. I was wondering if this article is everything in the Mayors speech. I like the part about the mental health issue in Lynnwood, being addressed, but what about the homelessness, it is bad in my area.
    I also would like to mention the litter problem in Lynnwood, there is garbage all over the the streets and the businesses need to do a better job of maintaining there property. I know in my area it is very bad.

    Thank you,

  2. Wonderful! Let’s spend money on everything except what will cure the theft and vandalism problem! STOP supporting a ‘Caste’ system where poor people are treated as if the are not real people. One system for people who have what they need, and another system for those who are retired or need help. This city, and our current society in general, is greedy and selfish. Make sure you keep your cushy life and support projects instead of helping people. Where is all the money to help the homeless? GRIFTED to overhead!

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