Bouncy optimism at Bothell’s state of the city address

  • Written by Don Mann
In front of over 100 people, including Bothell bigwigs and some of the business community’s heaviest hitters, City Manager Bob Stowe delivered the annual state of the city address in Courtyard Hall at Country Village on Wednesday.

The event was sponsored by the Greater Bothell Chamber of Commerce.

Stowe began his presentation — his eighth in consecutive years — with a flashy video highlighting the numbers that told some of the city’s 2011 story, including: 3592 emergency medical calls received; 118 fires handled by the fire department; 23,165 incidents handled by police; 1527 arrests; 926 building permits processed; $31 million in new construction; $32 million invested in major projects; and $11.5 million in grants received.

Stowe spoke about the city’s ambitious downtown revitalization projects, its current economic outlook and Bothell’s bright future.

Since 2010 the city has invested $89 million as part of a total of $150 million in planned infrastructure improvements. Those improvements, Stowe said, will leverage $650 million in private investment and downtown revitalization is expected to generate 8,400 temporary construction jobs and 1,367 permanent family wage jobs in the downtown district alone.

The Wayne Curve project on SR 522 is near completion, provides an enhanced gateway at the west entrance to the city and will help alleviate some of the pressure from increased traffic due to SR 520 tolling.

The Crossroads project, the largest single capital investment in city history and fully funded at $55 million, will realign SR 522 with an expanded SR 527 and Main Street and allow the Park at Bothell Landing to become a more prominent feature in the downtown. The project will go to bid in February with construction set to begin in the spring of 2012 and be completed in 2014.

Most exciting to Stowe are the plans with McMenamins to transform the historic Anderson Building into a 70-room downtown hotel which will include a restaurant, brewpub, movie theater, live music venue, spa, community swimming pool and meeting space.

McMenamins, Stowe said, is scheduled to open on or before St.  Patrick’s Day 2014.

Also, at the heart of downtown will be a new City Hall and city center, a project that will encompass the entire block where the City Hall currently sits. Vulcan Real Estate will head up the development team and design plans are currently underway.

“While Bothell’s downtown serves as its historical and cultural center,” Stowe said, “it boasts several important districts and enjoys a status as a growing and thriving employment hub with companies representing the biomedical industry,  high-tech and telecommunications.”

Even during the economic recession, these industries grew at an annual rate of three percent, he said.He spoke about about UW-Bothell’s new student housing, Husky Village, which holds 220 students and he cited the new Safeway shopping center along SR 527 which opened in November. He mentioned the city’s low vacancy in filling retail suites, and was proud to announce Google will soon be bringing 800 jobs to Bothell.

And the city manager pointed to some forecasted trends that create a sense of optimism: It’s anticipated the city will grow by an additional 12,000 residences by 2020 — and not through annexation; student population at UW-Bothell and Cascadia Community College has doubled since 2006 and is expected to add 4,000 more students by 2015; and, according to Puget Sound Economic Forecaster, the outlook for the Puget Sound area shows housing starts increasing 18 percent in 2012 and 30 percent in 2013.

In his summary, Stowe cited research scholar David Wallace’s published study on Bothell last year titled “Vision, Leadership, Commitment, Flexibility and Experience — A Model-Public-Private Partnership.” In it, Stowe said, Wallace detailed the work Bothell had done as a community to arrive at the place they are today. “He said that ‘the city’s leadership was bold, committed and unwavering.’ ”

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