May 21, 2019 | DeLeo Wall, 126th Sidewalks and More
Posted on 05/22/2019

The Newcastle City Council roundups offer a digest of notable items for those who can't make it to the regular meetings. Listen to the audio from the May 21, 2019, meeting here and view the meeting agenda packet here. View past City Council roundups at newcastlewa.gov/councilrecaps.

SPEAKERS URGE PRESERVATION OF DELEO WALL

A standing-room-only crowd packed the Newcastle Council Chambers last night, urging City leaders to protect an area known as the DeLeo Wall from logging and development. People were enthusiastic, wearing green t-shirts and displaying signs with messages of conservation.

Last year, the Department of Natural Resources approved an application to clear-cut 28 acres of trees on the Dalpay property located in the southeast corner of Newcastle. The City immediately appealed the decision in an effort to delay the logging and pursue opportunities to preserve the area as open space. The City continues to explore all options to protect the property.

During the hour-long public comment period on May 21, speaker after speaker shared personal stories about the property’s importance. They highlighted the serene trails that provide solace for their families. They talked about the trees and what they mean to the planet, and they advocated for the wildlife that call DeLeo home. They urged creative solutions to preserve the space and offered public support to ensure it is protected.

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn offered a boost to those efforts when he announced a county recommendation to award the City a $450,000 matching grant to support Newcastle’s acquisition of the property. Earlier this year, the City applied for funds to help acquire the parcel through the King County Conservation Futures Program. Councilmember Dunn noted that the funding proposals will still have to go before the full King County Council before anything is approved, but he expressed optimism for Newcastle’s prospects.

126TH AVENUE SIDEWALK IMPROVEMENTS

A project to construct sidewalks along a segment of 126th Avenue Southeast could proceed sooner than anticipated. The corridor serves as a pedestrian connection between the Donegal and Olympus neighborhoods, but there’s an approximately 420 foot sidewalk gap from Southeast 75th Street to the Hazelwood Ridge development (See Map).

The budget only allocates funding for the project’s design in 2019. However, staff proposed moving forward with construction and closing the sidewalk gap this year, after realizing savings from another project. An engineering firm completed the design earlier this year, with an estimated cost of $55,000. During the meeting, the City Council authorized staff to solicit bids for the sidewalk construction.

GENERAL UPDATES

— Public Works Director Jeff Brauns presented a potential new online citizen request tool that would replace the current YourGov system. The SeeClickFix platform offers an improved user experience for both citizens and staff. It would allow staff to collect more detailed information, locations and photos to better respond to resident requests through the service. SeeClickFix would come with its own Newcastle-specific portal and mobile app. Several neighboring agencies, including Sammamish and Mercer Island, use it. The City Council will consider whether or not to go forward with this new tool at the next meeting.

— The City Council reviewed a proposed Public Engagement Strategy and offered staff feedback. The new document codifies the City’s commitment to provide clear, consistent, timely and transparent communications. It includes a list of our communications tools and a how-to guide letting citizens know how to submit comments and receive news from the City.

— The City Council discussed plans for the June 18 Town Hall meeting. Management Partners, the firm developing the Fiscal Sustainability Plan, will present the plan’s findings and offer information about the City’s current fiscal environment. As always, members of the public will have the opportunity to ask questions. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the main program goes from 7-9 p.m. at The Golf Club at Newcastle.

— The City Council honored the unsung heroes of Newcastle’s Public Works Department with a special proclamation recognizing National Public Works Week. The work they do behind the scenes to keep your roads safe, your parks and trails beautiful, your stormwater system clean, and much more, is an important part of what makes Newcastle so special!

The Newcastle City Council wants to hear from you! Members of the public are invited to share thoughts during public hearings or two open public comment periods at meetings. Regular meetings of the City Council occur on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at City Hall, starting at 7 p.m. You can also email your thoughts to councilmembers. To send a message to the entire council, email the city clerk at saram@newcastlewa.gov. You can also email them individually (view all councilmember emails here).  

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