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Jun 07

Mayor's Update - June 7, 2021

Posted on June 7, 2021 at 3:50 PM by Joshua Stecker

Good Day Gig Harbor,

Here in the city, we’ve had some record temperatures with some needed rain as well. We have a full summer of the events and gatherings we know and love are just around the corner.

We’re on track for a full re-opening of Washington state on June 30. So far, about 678,000 doses of the vaccine have been provided to Pierce County residents, and 312,000 are fully vaccinated. That means 34.1% of Pierce County is fully vaccinated, and 8.5% is partially vaccinated. Last week an average of 5,530 residents per day received a vaccine.

I rang the cow bell for the opening of the Waterfront Farmers Market on June 3 and it will run every Thursday until September 9. On June 13, we welcome back the Pierce Transit Trolley. On June 21 is Fest4 All Make Music Day with concerts occurring all day on 4 stages in the Uptown Shopping Center. Then in mid-July, our concerts and movies in the park return.

Remember you cannot put chairs out to reserve your spot until after 3pm. Otherwise we collect them and put them behind Skansie house for people to pick up.
This allows our citizens and guests to use the park for the day.

Concert Schedule:
• July 2 – Redemption
• July 13 – Surf Wax America
• July 20 – Sweet T & Justice
• July 27 – Mark Hurwitz & Gin Creek
• August 3 – Sounds Like Dolores
• August 10 – The Beatniks
• August 17 – Flock of Beagles
• August 24 – The Paperboys
• August 31 – Nate Botsford

Movie Schedule:
• July 16 – Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
• July 23 – Grease
• July 30 – Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
• August 6 – Moana
• August 13 – A League of Their Own
• August 27 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

We hope you come out and enjoy yourselves and support our downtown businesses during these evening events, too.

In May we got to recognize some of our longest serving employees. Police Chief Kelly Busey, Field Supervisor Jim Stattin, and Maintenance Tech Tony Poling each reached their 30-year anniversary with the City this year. Their dedication and commitment to the City is amazing and we are lucky to have them on board.

Our City Clerk, Molly Towslee, also reached her 30-year anniversary this year. She announced here retirement earlier this year and the Council meeting on May 24 was her last as the City Clerk. At that meeting I read a proclamation honoring her and thanking her for all she has done for the City. Over the years she has been the one constant in the City’s administration. Her knowledge and experience has been very important to us and she will be greatly missed.

Last month our City Administrator, Bob Larson, also announced his upcoming retirement. Bob helped us navigate through some really tough situations over the past year and a half. He’s also been gracious enough to stay on and ensure the transition to an interim City Administrator is a smooth one. On July 6, Tony Piasecki will join us as the interim City Administrator. Tony filled this same interim role for us back in 2018 when I first came on as Mayor. He did a great job then and I know he’ll be helpful through many months ahead getting ready to help the next Mayor choose a permanent City Administrator.

This year’s legislative session in Olympia wrapped up last month. We went into the year with a pretty long list of wants -- and we were successful in getting some of what we asked for. We secured another $500,000 to fund the Gig Harbor Sports Complex, we got support for funding our top three transportation project requests in the revenue package that has yet to be adopted, and we retained the option for a multi-family tax exemption program that could help Gig Harbor out with affordable housing.

The time has come to submit funding requests to our representatives in DC for our biggest capital projects. In the past month, we’ve compiled support from community organizations and submitted requests to Representative Kilmer, Senator Patty Murray and Senator Maria Cantwell. Our lobbyist has let us know these are being viewed favorably, thanks in large part to the support letters submitted by many in our community. Federal funding would provide a huge opportunity to make a big difference on traffic issues, safety and walkability as well as quality of life upgrades throughout the city.

We’re moving forward on the development of Ancich Waterfront Park. Council has worked out a new lease amendment with the Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team that will hopefully extend their lease to use the kayak storage facility for 15 years from the date they are able to move in. We’re working with the Parks Commission to iron out the details on how we’ll rent out storage space to other residents and we’ll have a policy in place for that soon.

At the next Council meeting Council will review the design and concept for the Fishermen’s Homeport. Council wanted to see a design that showed finger slip moorage to be able to support the more fishing vessels and we hope it will provide plenty of room to maneuver and still be safe for the human-powered watercraft in the area. It is a tighter fit than the linear dock that was recommended by the consultants but that Council turned down.

Please be safe out there and remember to be kind to each other.