Our 2014 goals for a better Newcastle

January 2, 2014

By Staff

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As the city heads into the coming year, Newcastle continues to grow and flourish. Here are our goals for 2014 as the city embarks on its 20th year of incorporation.

Middle school construction — As early as this summer, the Renton Academy on 116th Avenue Southeast will become a construction zone when the Renton School District begins to build its fourth middle school, set to open in 2016. Community open houses about the project have been sparsely attended, but sooner than later, shovels will be in the ground and the chance to comment on the plans will have passed. Get involved in the details of Newcastle’s newest educational institution in the New Year.

Celebrate 20 in style — Newcastle Days is the celebration of the city’s 1994 incorporation. With Newcastle’s 20th anniversary coming up, volunteers are needed to work with the Community Activities Commission to make the annual festival bigger and better than ever.

Protect history — While the city has taken a step to make a commitment to history with the establishment of a historical preservation fund, more needs to be done to preserve it. The Newcastle Historical Society should continue to partner with the library to display photos and host lectures, but ultimately a permanent place to display local legend Milt Swanson’s mining artifacts must be found.

Volunteerism and community engagement — Our hope is that the newly created city community activities liaison makes fast and significant headway in upping the level of volunteerism in Newcastle.

Look to the future — The city has enjoyed a few years of financial stability, but looking at future forecasts, challenges are ahead as development revenues begin to fall. Begin the discussion now, not later, to make decisions that will ensure the city’s financial future isn’t seeing red. The Planning Commission will also continue its Comprehensive Plan update in 2014. Get involved and help shape the future of the city with this important document.

Mutual Materials — Residents got a glimpse at Avalon Bay’s plans for the Mutual Materials site, complete with housing, retail and a large public square, at the annual town hall meeting. The city and developers should continue to communicate their vision and seek input from Newcastle residents for a project that means so much to the city’s future.

2014 elections — November’s election saw a big dip in voter turnout. Newcastle residents in the Issaquah School District have a chance to step it up in February as the district asks for approval of three levies. And fall elections will bring another opportunity to practice your voting rights in legislative and other state elections.

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