Our 2012 goals for Newcastle

January 6, 2012

  • The city must do all it can to facilitate the redevelopment of Mutual Materials’ brick plant site, a major change with potential opportunity for Newcastle’s future.
  •  The Newcastle library will open this summer, with a lot of opportunities for public involvement through classes, book clubs, book sales, homework helpers and more. It could very well become the city’s de-facto community center. Let the celebration begin!
  •  Continue to encourage business development in Newcastle’s downtown along the lines of recently revised requirements that are more development friendly. Now is also a good time to look at sign codes, fees and customer service. Also work with the chamber of commerce and landlords to identify businesses that would add to the mix in Newcastle and reach out to them to fill vacant storefronts.
  • Create a city Celebrations Committee to plan both Newcastle Days and other new city traditions and events. It need not be a commission with paid staff involvement, although any plans must be coordinated with City Hall.
  •  Seek a long-term budget fix that will get revenue on pace with expenditures in the next five years. Many projections show the city could be in real trouble if this isn’t addressed.
  •  Fund projects that enable connectivity and mobility via sidewalks and trail systems. Residents have repeatedly said that this is important!
  •  Continue to pursue a ZIP code for the city of Newcastle.
  •  Continue working with the Renton School District to implement the Safe Routes to School program, primarily near Hazelwood Elementary School. The continued exchange could lead to grant money for sidewalk improvements and is a great way to get kids active and walking to school.
  • School leaders and citizens should set aside their opposition to cutting the school year by four days, provided the total hours of class time remains the same. It offers a good way to save precious education dollars.
  •  Voters need to be committed to learning all of the pluses and minuses of school construction bonds coming before voters in February and April. For Renton, it means a new junior high school in Newcastle. Issaquah’s bond includes improvements to Liberty High, Maywood Middle and Newcastle Elementary schools. But is the time right?