City moves forward with Lake Boren flooding mitigation plan

June 3, 2011

The City Council has directed city staff members to move forward with a plan aimed at mitigating flooding from Lake Boren.

The lake’s water level rises in winter, flooding residents’ basements and yards on the north end of the lake.

China Creek roared into the north end of Lake Boren in December 2010 with heavy rain, flooding residents’ properties and dumping a slew of gravel and sediment on their lawns. By Tim Pfarr

City staff members presented a draft scope of work at the May 13 council meeting, seeking feedback regarding how to proceed with the project. The staff members proposed collecting data from the lake and identifying ways to mitigate the lake level.

In addition to addressing flooding on the north end of the lake, the draft said the project would also include exploring ways to make the north end of the lake more accessible.

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Police contract cheaper than expected for 2011

June 3, 2011

The city’s police contract with the King County Sheriff’s Office came in under budget for the year.

In late 2010, the sheriff’s office estimated that the contract for 2011 would cost the city about $1.46 million. The final contract cost came in $37,000 under budget.

There will be no changes to the level of service for the year.

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City awards contracts to build 116th sidewalks

May 6, 2011

Renton firm Delta Excavating Inc. will build Newcastle’s sidewalks on 116th Avenue Southeast from Southeast 84th Street to Southeast 88th Street.

The City Council unanimously voted to award the contract to the firm, which presented the cheapest bid to the city for the project.

The firm will complete the work for $173,400. The city’s contract engineer estimated the cost of the project to be $310,000. Construction will start later this spring or this summer, interim Public Works Director Steve Roberge said. The project will take less than two months to complete.

The City Council reviewed three design concepts for the project in August 2010, and it chose an option that calls for concrete sidewalks, curbs, gutters, driveway ramps and pedestrian ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The design also calls for enhancements to storm water drainage, minor landscape improvements, retaining walls and a 12- to 15-foot driving lane. It will not have a bike lane, but the wide driving lanes — one to four feet wider than most — will give some room to bikers.

The council also considered cheaper and more expensive design options.

Sidewalks are also to be built on 116th Avenue Southeast from Southeast 80th Street to Southeast 84th Street. The council has not yet approved the sidewalk design for that stretch of road.



May 6, 2011

Veteran Newcastle councilman to retire in December

I am writing to announce that after 17 years of community service, I will not be running for re-election to the Newcastle City Council.

I am proud of how far our community has come. When we struggled to incorporate the city of Newcastle, the then-Chair of the King County Council echoed Gertrude Stein’s opinion of Oakland, saying “There is no there there.”

Since incorporation in 1994, we encouraged the location of the prominent Golf Club at Newcastle on the site of an old landfill. We provided incentives for the location of a full-service YMCA — now overflowing with active users — and an 11,000-square-foot King County library, now under construction.

We encouraged the funding and construction of two new elementary schools in the city. We leveraged Newcastle’s small capital resources over this period to construct major street, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, like the $55 million Coal Creek Parkway project and the $4 million Newcastle Transit Center.

All these amenities have attracted a highly diverse population of new residents and the construction of a large number of new, high-valued homes. Since incorporation, our population has grown by almost 50 percent to its current 10,300 residents.

Newcastle is now “on the map.” It has become a highly desirable place to live, all the while maintaining the green canopy of parks and open spaces that characterize our community. Newcastle residents feel a sense of place, a sense of belonging to a real community of neighbors. Now, when we tell people that we live in Newcastle, they often respond “Oh, you live in Newcastle,” with eyebrows raised in admiration.

I hope the future leaders of our community will safeguard this legacy and sustain our community’s vision into the future.

Sonny Putter

Newcastle City Council

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Lake Boren playground closed for construction

April 1, 2011

The Lake Boren Park playground closed March 14 for construction.

After city crews demolished the old playground, City Manager Rob Wyman signed a contract with Enumclaw-based Maroni Construction to build the new playground, which is to be completed by June 8.

The new playground is slated to expand to the north and east, and include two separate play areas: one for children 2-5 years old and another for children older than 5. The design calls for a concrete pathway to separate the play areas.

The existing swings were in good condition and were not removed.

The design also calls for the backless, concrete seating areas to be replaced with benches, and for picnic tables to be placed along with benches and a sandbox in a concrete plaza in the southeast corner of the playground.

The floor of the playground itself will contain cedar chips.

The playground will be funded by a $325,000 grant from the state.

School construction projects in full swing

April 1, 2011

The voter-approved $241.8 million construction bond from 2006 is in full swing, sending two-story buildings high into the sky and installing sewer systems deep into the ground.

Several schools across the Issaquah School District — including Liberty High School and Maywood Middle School — are receiving money for construction updates or remodels. Four projects are slated to begin construction June 20, after school gets out.

Liberty will undergo a partial modernization and expansion, with most areas complete by August 2012, and final completion by spring 2013. Maywood will be modernized and expanded with new classrooms and science labs with completion in August 2012.

Liberty and Maywood will get new sewer systems as well.

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Lake Boren playground closed for construction

March 16, 2011

UPDATED — 2:10 p.m. March 16, 2011

The Lake Boren Park playground closed March 14 for construction. Most of the playground will be removed to make way for new equipment, and construction is expected to continue through June 30.

The new playground is slated to expand to the north and east, and include two separate play areas: one for children 2-5 years old and another for children older than 5. The design calls for a concrete pathway to separate the play areas, and for the current swings — which are in good condition — to not be removed or replaced.

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Mayor ensures city is OK in the state of the city address

March 4, 2011

Mayor John Dulcich delivered the annual state of the city address at the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce’s Feb. 9 luncheon.

During the speech, Dulcich also outlined the biggest achievements of 2010 — including the success of Newcastle Days — as well as the state of the city’s finances, major projects and outlook.

Financially, he said the city will be all right as long as the governing body is alert and responsible.

Mayor John Dulcich gives a state of the city address at the February meeting of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce. By Tim Pfarr

“We’re OK,” he said about the city’s finances. “The reality is, there’s a little water in the bilge, but we’re moving forward, and we’re not sinking, and we’re not on fire.

“I think that’s important,” he said.

Dulcich also gave an overview of the largest construction projects planned for the city this year.

In addition to the library — which is now being built — a traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of Newcastle Way and 129th Avenue Southeast.

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City adopts state energy code

February 4, 2011

UPDATED — 11:15 a.m. Feb. 4, 2011

The City Council unanimously voted at its Jan. 18 meeting to adopt the 2009 Washington State Energy Code, which is mandated by state law.

The code sets efficiency requirements for new and remodeled buildings.

The new code requires that ducts be tested for efficiency when a furnace is replaced, that certificates of energy features are posted near electrical panels for new buildings and that air leakage is tested in new homes. It also sets requirements for insulation installed in floors and attics in new homes.

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Winter wonderland replaced by Pineapple Express damage

January 7, 2011

The heavy rain that assaulted the city the weekend of Dec. 11-12 caused a landslide off Newcastle Golf Club Road. City crews were forced to use almost 1,400 tons of rock to stabilize the hillside. By Tim Pfarr

In the wake of the snow and ice that pounded Newcastle just before Thanksgiving, a balmy Pineapple Express weather system blew into the area the weekend of Dec. 11 and 12, dumping more than three inches of rain on the city, according to the National Weather Service.

The wet conditions caused a landslide off Newcastle Golf Club Road and flooding in numerous locations across the city.

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