August 1, 2008

By Administrator

City is moving in the right direction

In January, Newcastle News outlined its hopes for city accomplishments for the coming year. Here we are a little past the mid-point. We’re pleased the city hired a parks manager, has kept a watchful eye on Coal Creek Parkway costs and has put a proposed skateboard park on the back burner.

Kudos are also in order for residents west of Coal Creek Parkway, who approved Renton’s maintenance and operations levy, technology levy and $150 million bond. It took two tries, but the school construction bond measure will bring a new 10-classroom wing to Hazen High School, along with improvements to the kitchen and athletic fields. The technology levy will see computer upgrades at Hazelwood Elementary and McKnight Middle schools.

Newcastle went four years without hiring a parks manager before Michael Holly was chosen earlier this year.

He brings a fresh hands-on approach to the post. He’s also been instrumental in holding public meetings and seeking public comment on a proposed sports park facility in southwest Newcastle.

City officials continue to seek funding from county, state and federal partners for the Coal Creek Parkway project. Cost overruns have not cropped up and the project is on schedule.

The city is also to be commended for purchasing a generator for City Hall. The generator will help power the building during natural disasters, so City Hall can be used as a communication center and place where people can stop by to warm up during a power outage.

Newcastle has room for more good leaders. City officials are always looking to fill openings on the parks and planning commissions. We’re impressed with the quality of people who have come forward in the past six months to fill commission vacancies. And we would be remiss if we didn’t thank the dedicated group of volunteers who have taken it upon themselves to clear ivy from Newcastle’s historic cemetery near Lake Boren.

As for the skateboard park, skateboarders should have a safe place to skate, but Newcastle has a long list of recreation needs for larger segments of the population. The city should revisit the issue later.

A skateboard facility could be incorporated with the discussion of a new City Hall.

With five months left in the year, a new city goal should be a welcoming monument on the south end of town to compliment the one on the city’s northern entrance.

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