A city cannot live on property tax alone and the Lake Stevens City staff and city council have hired LMN Architects to create a plan which will help the city define the best steps to take to ensure Lake Stevens continues to be fiscally responsible for generations to come.
“This is pretty phenomenal and exciting,” Lake Stevens City Administrator Jan Berg said. The project, which is slated to be complete by December 31, 2010, includes a myriad of studies and analysis. These studies will scope out economic growth potential throughout the entire city including downtown, Frontier Village, the Hartford industrial area and the newly annexed 20th Street area on the southwest side of the lake. They will be collecting data, mapping and analyzing everything from land use, zoning and urban design to infrastructure, transportation and environmental analysis.
One of the more exciting items they will be looking at is how to bring family wage jobs to Lake Stevens which will cut down on commuting and help relieve some transportation issues, which they will also be examining. “The council’s goal is to have employment here,” Berg explains. “We don’t want residential property tax to pay the bill for all of the services. It became obvious that we need to look at economic development city-wide.”
A common joke in town is that “you can get into Frontier Village, you just can’t get out.” LMN will come up with ways to ensure that as more commercial development comes to Lake Stevens, drivers won’t end up with traffic issues like those at Highway 9 and SR 204.
“We don’t want to create a bigger traffic mess, so we want to plan it holistically,” Berg said. The plan has two parts. First they will inventory what the city already has and then they will see what there is to work with and what the city wants.
“They are going to help us figure out the next steps,” Berg said. “We also want to know what areas will give us the biggest bang for our buck.”
Berg explained that the study will have countless advantages in planning for the city’s future. “They (the city council) didn’t just want to invest in a study or get information we already have, they wanted useful tools to implement,” Berg said. “They wanted to make sure their investment was going to pay off.”
Berg’s biggest concern is making sure that the city is fiscally prepared for the future and this study will assist them to make decisions that will bring positive outcomes to the city and those living and working in it for decades to come.
“I want to know what we can do today so that we don’t go into the red in the future,” she said.