Spokane Valley is poised for growth with a balanced budget, a new city hall building and infrastructure improvements to lure new businesses to the city, Spokane Valley Mayor Rod Higgins said at a State of the City address Wednesday.
“As we work together, our future looks extraordinarily bright,” Higgins said to an audience of more than 70 people at CenterPlace Regional Event Center.
Higgins touted completion of a centrally located, $14 million city hall building last September as a major accomplishment.
“The project was delivered on time, on budget and without raising taxes,” he said. “Over the next 30 years, the building will save you – the taxpayer – at least $8 million.”
Higgins outlined a number of economic development efforts and city initiatives such as securing funds for the $19 million project to build a bridge on Barker Road over the BNSF railroad tracks.
“Completion of the Barker and Trent project is a major step in enhancing the quality of life in Spokane Valley,” Higgins said. “It will improve safety by eliminating one of the top-20 dangerous rail crossings in Washington state and increase emergency access.”
Another improvement is the addition of infrastructure to more than 500 acres of vacant industrial land near Barker Road and Trent Avenue, Higgins said.
The city partnered with Spokane County to extend sewer service to the area as well as rebuild Euclid Avenue to accommodate heavy truck traffic.
Those initiatives helped attract California-based technology company Katerra to the area, which is building a 250,000 square-foot facility that will manufacture cross-laminated timber and provide hundreds of jobs.
“The expansion of our industrial land capacity had almost immediate positive effects,” Higgins said. “It wasn’t just a chance that Katerra chose Spokane Valley. Much of it was due to the city’s active efforts, joined by Greater Spokane Incorporated, to create the conditions that attract business development.”
The city is working on an ordinance to streamline business permits for the proposed Centennial industrial park near Barker and Euclid roads to further increase economic development.
The park is being developed by Cowles Co., which publishes The Spokesman-Review.
Spokane Valley in 2018 will focus on securing funds to build a bridge at the BSNF track crossing at Pines Road.
“Like the Barker and Trent project, it’s a critical part of the city’s plan to provide access to an area that’s already ripe for development,” Higgins said. “All of these projects – from the new city hall to the Barker Road rail crossing – make our region very attractive to individuals and families who are looking for a community that offers reduced commute times, affordable housing and improved quality of life.”
A focal point for the city next year will be replacing a dwindling telephone tax used to fund road preservation with a dependable revenue source.
“By not allowing our roads to deteriorate, we avoid the heavy expense of having to completely reconstruct (roads), thus saving time and money,” he said. “Rest assured, continued funding for road maintenance and preservation while holding the line on our budget is – and will – remain our top priorities.”
Spokane Valley Deputy Mayor Pam Haley said the city will enhance quality of life for residents by increasing access to bicycle and pedestrian trails.
The city is nearing completion of Appleway Trail with a section between Sullivan to Corbin roads to be finished this year. Construction of a section between Evergreen and Sullivan roads will begin in 2020. The city plans to seek grant funding for the trail’s last remaining section from city hall to University Road in the near future.
“To further increase the trail’s appeal, the city is working with adjacent businesses to develop direct connections to the trail by creating opportunities for users to enjoy local eateries, boutiques and other shops as they travel the pathway,” Haley said.
Spokane Valley also is making improvements at CenterPlace Regional Event Center to draw more tourism related events, she said.
“The city’s efforts to promote Spokane Valley’s resources and events serve an important purpose,” Haley said. “It helps to shape our unique identity, reminds residents and visitors of the many activities within our city and creates a more attractive, enjoyable community.”
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