Mid-County Leadership Team Recap
May 31, 2023. Held at PLU
1. Welcome and introductions:
Pierce County Sheriff and all area Fire Districts are hiring and have volunteer opportunities; they are combining training facilities to maximize efficiency. Arivva.org has opportunities has summer activities including ceramics for high school students. Safe Streets will have its National Night Out 8/1/23. Bethel School District is seeking participants for various advisory boards. The Kiwanis and Parkland/Spanaway Rotary clubs started a friendly competition for membership.
2. George Mazure of WSDOT presented the South Pierce Co. Intermodal (Surface Transportation) Study which included proposals for the County Council to consider, an area problem statement, and the Hy 512 study needs with an emphasis on efficiency and safety.
3. Superintendent Tom Seigel reported that the district can expect 20k new residents in the next 7 yrs. The district comprises 13% of the county population, yet lacks in basic services such as a hospital, pool, YMCA/Boys-Girls Clubs, receives only 1.2% of transit services, 1.8% in park space and 1 of 28 libraries. Plans are moving forward with Community Healthcare to establish school based health/dental clinics at several high school locations. The Family Center is now open with free room usage for non-profit service organizations.
3. Franklin Pierce School District is partnering to bring mental health services directly to schools and students. Howard Elementary is a dual language school with kindergarten taught 50% Spanish/English. Their collective farm offers free veggies to the community on Thursdays 4-6 pm and provides some deliveries to those homebound.
4. PLU President, Allan Belton presented recent stats reflecting the university’s highest enrollment, diversity and other accomplishments. New construction and projects were also reviewed.
5. State Senator Chris Gildon, presented the legislative update. There were 1666 bills introduced with 476 new laws enacted to include increasing affordable housing, improvements to public safety, police pursuits and drug possession. A bipartisan budget was achieved with no new taxes.
6. Pastor Samara Jenkins of Spanaway United Methodist Church reported on the Family Promise outreach for homeless families with school age children. They are now a 50C3 organization and are recruiting for board members and in the process of hiring an administrator.
7. Jim Stretz, Exec Director of Pierce County Housing Authority provided an update on $30 million for rental assistance, units and ongoing efforts to sell off existing housing assets in order to partner with developers for affordable housing. Over 10k are waiting for housing units and assistance. There was discussion regarding attainable and sustainable housing options to better address the diverse homeless needs.
Mid-County Leadership Team Recap
March 15, 2023. Held at PLU
1. Welcome and introductions included a reminder that March is Colorectal Cancer awareness month, April is Military Child Appreciation Month to include BAMM (Bethel Appreciates all Military Members) will be held at Spanaway Lake High School 4/21/23 from 6-8:30p.m with dinner, games, events, and fun for all. Pierce County Sheriff and all area Fire Districts are hiring and have volunteer opportunities.
Arivva.org has opportunities in education and workforce development.
Parkland-Spanaway Rotary Club reported on their Food Drop, and along with Kiwanis, scholarship applications are now open.
LeMay has their annual car show and auction 4/15/23 at Marymount.
Safe Streets will have its National Night Out 8/1/23.
A new American Military Families Network is establishing housing, service dog training and other support in the Parkland community: USAVet.org. Support was called for WA SB 1 791 regarding the regional airport designation site (which is currently DEAD but requires ongoing vigilance per Dennis Townsend). An area group (name was missed) is hosting a giveaway of formal attire (female gown and menswear donations needed) and ESL courses are offered on Saturdays at 1000.
2. Bethel and Franklin Pierce School District superintendents provided updates. Both are actively hiring in all capacities of full and part time positions to include bus drivers, teachers, para educators and support staff. Superintendent Tom Seigel reported on updated school construction at GKHS, and Camas Prairie Elem, facility upgrades and that the Family Center is now open with free room usage for non-profit service organizations. The ability to keep up with ongoing population growth in the district is hampered by the supermajority requirement for bond passage. Sup Lance Goodpaster, of Franklin Pierce School District reported on their Career Fair and Arts in Full Swing in March, their soon to be completed, stunning, Performing Arts Center (paid for by the last bond), school facility upgrades and their Advisory Council with students and parents.
3. Parkland Incorporation Study: Michaela Jellicoe, Senior Economist and Valerie Smith, Commerce Project Manager Community Attributes, Inc presented on the informal review for incorporation stressing that no petition has been filed. Demographics collected were reviewed, focus groups and surveys to follow. (Dean Absher and Terry Hurd of FCCCC are following this closely). Statistically, this would be the 6th largest city in WA and would be below the state average in household income and education.
4. Pastor Samara Jenkins of Spanaway United Methodist Church gave an impactful update on their outreach program, Family Promise, a nationwide program that addresses homeless families with school age children. There are over 600 homeless students in Bethel and Pastor Samara’s program provides safe parking and a variety of support services for a small number of those families with students living in their vehicles. 75% of these families secure housing within 80 days. They are recruiting board members and working on grants and fundraising of $250k to hire a director and case management workers.
5. Central Pierce Fire and Rescue announced an ongoing hiring campaign. Headquarters will be moved centrally with 5 other agencies to better collaborate and utilize resources and services.
6. Pierce County Housing Authority is selling some public housing units while working with developers to acquire housing units and homes to better address the >10k on the waitlist for homes.
7. From the Pierce County Executive Office: Ongoing efforts to honor our police and fire/EMS employees while increasing recruitment and retention efforts for enhance public safety. It was pointed out that when cities incorporate, they are able to contract with the county for police services and road maintenance.