Newcastle Days committee plans 2011 celebration

March 4, 2011

The committee responsible for planning the 2011 Newcastle Days celebration has convened, and this year’s celebration will be Sept. 9 and 10.

The organizing committee is seeking volunteers to help with preparations.

The Friday and Saturday celebration will be similar to that of 2010, with a sidewalk sale in the downtown area the first day followed by festivities in Lake Boren Park the second day.

This year’s celebration in the park will feature a beer garden sponsored by the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce, live bands, vendor booths, main stage entertainment and food. This year’s celebration will likely include a car show as well, which has historically been a staple of Newcastle Days, although it was not part of last year’s celebration.

“We were so pleased with how it went last year,” Parks Commissioner Diane Lewis, who will work on the organizing committee again this year, said of the two-day event. “We’re looking to do it as well or better this year.”

Once again, this year’s organizing committee is mostly volunteer-driven with Parks Commission Vice Chair Koleen Morris at the helm.

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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 Hall move risky but understandable

March 4, 2011

Moving City Hall from the Newport Manufacturing building, 13020 Newcastle Way, to the Newcastle Professional Center, 12835 Newcastle Way, is understandable but risky. The City Council needs to be sure it protects residents as it takes this risk.

The Newport Manufacturing building is run-down, an embarrassing place for City Hall. There is little the city could do to change the image of this building. The move to a nearly new building may improve employee morale, attract better job candidates and reduce employee turnover.

More importantly, the Newcastle Professional Center is the only office space available in the city of Newcastle. It may be the only opportunity for many years for the city to get out of the Newport Manufacturing building.

The big concern is the cost. It will cost the city $250,000 to move into the new building, and the city will pay an average of $15,000 more per year in rent and utilities in the new building.

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Rapid Response

March 4, 2011

What do you think of the City Council’s decision to move City Hall to the Newcastle Professional Center?

OK, as long as we can develop where City Hall currently is into a good tax resource (i.e. a great bistro-type restaurant. No fast food allowed!) for the city.

— Jackie Foskett, Newcastle

I think larger space was sacrificed for nicer space when funds are low. Rent could go up substantially before improvements are amortized. Maintenance and storage spaces are still needed.

— Peggy Price, Newcastle

Great move and better accessibility for all.

— Trina Sooy, Newcastle

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City Hall to move to Newcastle Professional Center by end of year

February 7, 2011

Council turns down offer to use both floors of current building

UPDATED — 5:25 p.m. Feb. 10, 2011

So long, 13020 Newcastle Way.

The City Council has voted to move City Hall to the 7,500-square-foot second floor of the Newcastle Professional Center, 12835 Newcastle Way, by the end of the year. City staff recommended the move, which will cost $250,000.

City Manager Rob Wyman said it is the state of the current facility that prompted the recommendation. The city’s lease with current landlord Jim Denton expires at the end of the year.

The City Council voted 4-3 at its Feb. 1 meeting to allow Wyman to sign a five-year lease with dentist Dr. Geoffrey Strange, who owns the Newcastle Professional Center.

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Council to hold special meeting tonight to consider moving City Hall

February 7, 2011

UPDATED — 4 p.m. Feb. 7, 2011

The City Council will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. today in Council Chambers, 13020 Newcastle Way, to consider moving City Hall to the second floor of the Newcastle Professional Center, 12835 Newcastle Way.

The meeting is open to the public, but there will be no opportunity for public comment.

The City Council voted 4-3 at its Feb. 1 meeting to allow City Manager Rob Wyman to sign a lease with the Newcastle Professional Center. If Wyman signs the lease, the city would need to move to the 7,500-quare-foot space by the end of the year. The move would cost about $250,000.

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November snow brings early test for city maintenance crew

December 2, 2010

As snow and ice blanketed Newcastle just before Thanksgiving, city maintenance workers took to the streets in the city’s three trucks fitted with snowplows, clearing roads around the clock in accordance with the city’s snow priorities map.

However, before snow began falling, maintenance workers had already laid de-icer on the city’s major roadways.

“We were very prepared for what happened,” said Steve Roberge, interim public works director. “The way the event occurred caught everybody off guard.”

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State to handle city business licensing, allow online renewals

December 2, 2010

The state Department of Licensing will soon handle city business licensing for Newcastle.

The change will make licensing more consolidated and give business owners the option to apply and renew their licenses online. The city historically distributed city business licenses itself; the change will take place early next year.

Through the new system, businesses will be able to file for numerous licenses through a master application with the department’s Master Licensing Service, which also allows businesses to pay all pertinent fees in one payment.

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F.E.T.C.H., Parks Commission subcommittee to meet Wednesday

October 26, 2010

NEW — 1:30 p.m. Oct. 26, 2010

Members of the Newcastle group Friends Embracing the Canine Heart will meet with a Parks Commission subcommittee at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the City Hall conference room. The meeting is open to the public.

At the meeting, the subcommittee will talk with F.E.T.C.H. about its goals and possible contributions to an off-leash dog park in Newcastle. The subcommittee consists of Chair Andrew Shelton, Vice Chair Koleen Morris, Commissioner Craig Belcher and Commission Craig Petersen.

City Hall hosts food drive

October 4, 2010

City Hall is hosting a food drive for the Emergency Feeding Program of Seattle and King County through Oct. 13.

Those who wish to help can bring nonperishable food items to the City Hall lobby, where there is a collection box.

If you come by after hours, Administrative Assistant Aleta Phillips said you can put your donation by the door and a city staff member will bring it inside the next business day.

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