Neil Johnson with his wife Mary Ann and daughters Rendi and Jadyn Elisa.
Bonney Lake Vision
Mayor Neil Johnson
Planning for Growth – We continue to work with Pierce County on our urban growth area. Cities are suppose to be urban, so this means we need to make sure we have the infrastructure and resources in place to accommodate any boundary change. Our focus needs to remain keeping low density (single family-R1) housing around Lake Debra Jane, Bonney Lake, Church Lake, and the surrounding areas. Any high density (multi family-R3) housing should be contained along the 410 corridor. One of these zone changes happened in 2008, when I brought a zoning change for Church Lake and Inlet Island forward which the council supported.
Civic Campus – Over the last eight years, the city has acquired over 90% of the land needed to build a civic campus on Main Street. Currently we are able to use the Justice and Municipal Center Building to house all departments except for Police and Public Works. Bringing departments under one roof has allowed for a better level of service for citizens. At some point, we will need to move forward with a civic campus which would contain all departments, a library and hopefully a post office. Once a civic campus is in place, the Justice and Municipal Center would be sold to the private sector.
Parks, Trails, Sidewalks, and Beautification – We continue to make great strides in building the fennel creek trail (most recently we had the groundbreaking), adding sidewalks (70% increase since 2006) throughout the city most noticeably the sidewalks which now stretch from downtown to eastown. We have also enhanced all of our parks by adding various amenities and most importantly, we continue to keep Bonney Lake beautiful. The city works closely with Beautify Bonney Lake and local groups to keep our city looking great!
We need to continue looking for additional parks and open space. Acquiring 40+ acres from WSU gives us a good start and the potential of expanding AY Park is right in front of us. However, like I said in 2009, funding is the key to for these types of programs and the community will need to come together to figure out long term funding for parks, recreation, trails, sidewalks and beautification.
Downtown Plan – We continue to expand on developing the downtown. Starting in 2006, we created Main Street.
The downtown plan consists of 5 basic areas: North Downtown, South Downtown, Triangle (where the DQ and Grocery Outlet are), Civic Center, and SE Housing area. The North Downtown (North Main Street) area has relatively new townhomes up above, and the lower parcel has been purchased by East Pierce Fire and Rescue for their new headquarters and substation (they hope to be able to build in a few years), so that is well underway. Some other properties along that stretch of Veterans Memorial Drive have recently been purchased, but no development plans yet finalized. The South Downtown consists largely of the new Franciscan medical building, and that is nearly complete. The "Triangle" (commercial core) will probably take the longest to redevelop. There are currently 12 or so different property owners in the triangle and it may take many years before a coordinated development can take place. In the interim, Sound Credit Union and DQ have improved their properties. The Civic Center (area E of Main between Veterans Memorial Drive E and SR 410) is still anticipated to be the site of the new civic center (city hall) and accompanying plaza and public buildings (new library?), along with retail bordering Main St. Timing will depend on the continued growth of the city and available revenues. The SE Housing area is represented by the Renwood project, and construction should begin before the end of the year. We are about half way (50%) of the downtown plan being constructed, being planned or underway. When the current Downtown Plan was adopted, the thinking was that it would take at least 20 years or more to complete the transformation of the Downtown. The concept drawings in the Plan itself used the year 2022 as a target date. The recent 5 year Great Recession really slowed things down, but they are starting to pick up.
To view the entire downtown plan, go to www.ci.bonney-lake.wa.us
Economic Development – We have made progress in developing all of the zoning necessary for the look of our downtown, mid-town, and east-town plans. In addition, we have put a plan in place to sewer eastown, created incentives for builders and businesses to do business in Bonney Lake. Recently the council has put together a sub-committee to work on our economic development plan. We do have a broad based economy, however we need to get to a point where we can work, shop and live in Bonney Lake. A strong economy for Bonney Lake will mean sustainable sales tax revenues that will help fund parks, streets and sidewalks.
Public Safety – In 2007, I was fortunate to hire Chief Mike Mitchell. Under his leadership, Mike was able to develop a strong team. After Mike retired in 2011, I promoted Dana Powers to interim Chief and then in 2012 appointed her to that position permanently. Dana is working hard with her structure to focus on community policing and reaching out to all citizens.
Eastown Plan – In 2012 the council passed a finance package to fund sewers in eastown (214th to 234th). Doing this will promote investment and building in this area. This will be a long term project, but it is finally moving forward.
Mid-town – We continue to refine the zoning in this area (located between 192nd – 214th). Many new businesses have located in this area, so we are hopeful a large big box retailer with gas will locate her soon. Continued work in this are for the future.