Redmond Mayor John Marchione presented his annual State of the City address on Feb. 21 at the Marriott hotel in the Redmond Town Center.
Marchione is in his third and final term as mayor and presented the progress the city has made as well as the direction the city is headed.
“We design what we did with a purpose,” he said. “We’re very intentional about what we do.”
When Marchione became mayor, he said Redmond had not built new roads in more than 12 years. The city lacked infrastructure and he said they caught up by extending 164th Avenue Northeast, Bear Creek Parkway and widening Northeast Union Hill Road. Although it may not seem as so, Marchione said the city has added more than 100 parking spaces in downtown Redmond. The city has also built Fire Station 17 on Northeast 116th Street, which has improved response times in North Redmond.
The year 2014 was the height of homelessness in the city. Marchione said they created a homeless outreach position that has helped decrease the number of homeless people in the city. The outreach coordinator makes personal contact with the homeless and helps get them into the right programs. With the King County Housing Authority, the city was able to purchase Friendly Village, so low-income senior housing can remain in the community. Marchione said the city has also worked with Providence to create the John Gabriel House and with Hopelink to lease land for the organization’s headquarters in Redmond.
“Having a vision is important. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never know if you’re there yet,” Marchione said about the future of Redmond. “Words are cheap. Now its time to get it done.”
During the next few years, Marchione said Redmond will be focusing on the environment, human services, affordable housing and light rail arriving in town by 2024 and creating the two-year budget and six-year financial plan.
Marchione said council’s top priority is environmental stewardship. There are programs in the budget that will allow the environmental manager to coordinate making the city’s carbon footprint smaller. He said they are planning to be very strategic about it.
To be a more diverse and connected community, Marchione said they are working on middle-income housing, as that is something they are missing in the Puget Sound and particularly in Redmond.
“If you have a job in Redmond, we want you to have the opportunity to live in Redmond,” he said. “That makes a community stronger.”
Together with OneRedmond, the city is working on how to accelerate and invest in middle-income housing products. Middle-income housing is the teachers, city employees and administrative assistants in the city. Marchione said the median income is about $80,000 in King County. They have invested $3 million dollars toward middle-income housing.
Fifty-one percent of the budget goes toward infrastructure but Marchione said half of that goes to toward maintaining what the city has.
“That’s our best investment,” he said. “Keeping what we have functioning and giving it a long lifespan.”
Marchione also explained that infrastructure is one of the most expensive things they have to do.
For transportation, Marchione said it’s something that doesn’t truly get better. He said the city is working hard to manage traffic and hopefully light rail will help make a difference. The city also hopes by preparing the street bridge in downtown and soon in Overlake and developing Marymoor Village will help create better mobility and circulation for people to get around.
“Because we’re prosperous [and] because we have jobs, we have traffic,” Marchione said. “A town that has no traffic has no economy.”
To conclude his final address, Marchione said he hopes the next mayor will keep in mind the theme of intentionality, for it has helped Redmond get things done over the years.
“We’ve done a lot of great things. We are a pioneering city and we should continue to be a pioneering city,” he said.