The City of Woodinville celebrates three years of 'Country Living, City Style'
by Jeff Switzer
"After three years, we're up and running and doing a fairly good job, and recognizing areas where we need to work a little harder," said Mayor Bob Miller.
The City of Woodinville has evolved into a thriving and active city, with an increasingly active downtown that may soon see a 13-acre community center, a new park on the Burke-Gilman Trail, and a new 44-acre shopping center in the heart of the downtown.
While the face of Woodinville is changing, the attitude and character have tended to remain the same. Balloons still dot the afternoon sky, people still hold doors open for each other, and the same infectious humor that afflicts the Township of Grace year-round manifests itself at the All Fools' Day Parade, where 200 basset hounds gather for an annual meeting and competition.
"What's good about the All Fools' Day Parade is it gives us the chance to give recognition for working together," said Woodinville City Manager Joe Meneghini. "That has made the difference. We have a great staff and work very hard to build a better tomorrow. That's our city team. They've done an awful lot in the last three years and a lot of credit goes to them," he added.
Meneghini also cited the large levels of citizen and volunteer involvement, working "shoulder to shoulder to make things happen."
The City has made changes since incorporation, including expanding its staff, shifting to a new police model, and jumping on the parks bandwagon.
"Everything changes," said Miller. "The focus of the city is to try to maintain our lifestyle as much as possible." Miller also cited state-mandated growth allocation as one of the many realities Woodinville will have to face in the future.
The adoption of the city's comprehensive plan is also on the horizon, guiding the policy decisions for the next 20 years. Miller is proud of the extra lengths Woodinville is going to in that document, including the parks and recreation section and attention to human services, sections not required by the Growth Management Act.
Looking to the future
High on the city's wish list is acquiring the Sorenson school site from the school district for use as a community and civic center. The council is expected to approve second reading of the ordinance setting the $7.5 million bond amount and the wording for the May 21 ballot at their March 25 meeting.
If the bonds pass, "the Sorenson Complex could serve as the focus of the community and the citizens, probably forever," said Miller.
"We're positioning ourselves to realize a lot of dreams and visions people had upon incorporation," added Meneghini. "The character of the community is maintained by the design guidelines and the tree board will help keep the woodland character intact."
Meneghini also cited the new partnership formed with the City of Bothell and the Northshore School District, sharing ideas and costs on projects benefiting the entire region.
In a similar vein, the city has contracted with the YMCA to provide recreational programs for area youth, with teen dance nights and band nights in the Sorenson Gym, each with growing levels of success.
The grid road ordinance, which is on the city's plate this week, will help solve the downtown congestion problem over the next 20 years. As development occurs and traffic increases are recorded, new roads will be required either as mitigation of developments, or the city will have to foot the bill.
The plan includes additional north-south cross streets to the South Bypass and possibly a slip ramp from SR-522 which would bring traffic to Woodinville-Snohomish Road and across the tracks into the proposed TRF- Pacific project (which includes Target, Top Foods, a Cineplex Odeon, and possibly Red Robin and Starbucks).