Introducing Kerry WatkinsBY PAM STEVENS | EDITOR Candidate for City Council Position 3 After living in Everett for six years, Kerry Watkins and his wife Michelle decided to move their family to the Frontier Village area in 2003. When the opportunity to annex into the City of Lake Stevens came along, Watkins and his family were in full support and looked forward to being a part of the growing city.
Watkins sees the significance of dealing with the issues of growth in a way that won’t burden taxpayers but will help businesses and families maintain the lifestyle of a bedroom community.
“There’s no doubt that growth is our most important issue, but how we deal with growth and its consequences is of paramount importance,” he said. “Growth will bring increased vehicular traffic to our narrow city streets. We need sidewalks so that our children won’t have to walk dangerously close to passing cars and trucks.”
Watkins would like to see that families have more entertainment options locally and promises to work towards bringing the community places to keep busy without having to leave the city.
“I will fight to bring a skate park and movie theater to the Lake Stevens area to give our youth and families acceptable alternatives,” Watkins said.
Through his service as a commissioned reserve police officer for the City of Everett, Watkins would like safety to be a central issue.
“Public safety and crime prevention are issues that will remain high on my agenda,” he said.
Watkins also feels that acquiring minimum street widths in new developments to ensure police and firefighters have unrestricted access during a response is of utmost importance to the safety of all those who live here.
When asked what made him decide to run for city council, Watkins was very clear.
“When I first read about the Grade Road project and the plans to close down the new police station in order to build another “new” police and fire station in the planned business district (PBD), I gasped. I thought it was poor decision-making and planningit showed me that the city council clearly lacked leadership, foresight and a vision for the future,” Watkins said.
Watkins also has strong concerns about the quality of the lake and wetlands in this area.
“I’m also very concerned about growth issues and the quality of our lake, wetlands and environment,” he said. “I personally feel that some of our fenced wetlands are an eyesore and take away from the attractiveness of Lake Stevens as a residential community. I believe the buffers should vary from the minimum critical areas ordinance (CAO) distances and appear less defined.”
Leadership and careful planning are effective ways of growing the city and revitalizing the downtown business district. Watkins would like to take things slow and make sure it is done correctly while receiving input from citizens from all over the city including the newly annexed areas and those living in the Urban Growth Area (UGA).
“One of the early lessons I learned while pursing my MBA is that a city must encourage economic development and support local businesses to avoid stagnation,” he said. “I fully support the concept of having a new civic center and revitalizing the downtown area to attract new businesses. Leadership and careful planning are crucial to ensure we will not have to raze sections of the PBD in the near future.”
With full support of the plan to have one community around the lake, Watkins would like to be the voice of those in the newly annexed areas.
His vision for the future of Lake Stevens includes a well-planned civic center that includes a hotel, increased public access to the lake, single station permit centers that are streamlined and focused on the customer.
He would also like to see increased law enforcement to deal with the growing meth problems and gang violence and making sure the City of Lake Stevens is prepared to deal with natural disasters and emergencies.
But one of his main concerns is the quality of the lake itself.
“Septic systems are the largest contributors of pollution to our lake. It is crucial to the health of our lake that we transition our residents to the Lake Stevens Sewer District,” Watkins said. “ I believe the direction and priorities of the council needs to be changedand it needs to be done in a manner that puts public interests and safety ahead of developers and special interest groups.”
Watkins currently works as an aircraft mechanic with the Boeing Company. He is also a commissioned officer in the Washington Army National Guard where he has fought wildfires, responded to the WTO related civil unrest, helped with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and has also been deployed to Iraq.