Mayor’s Corner: Looking beyond central core to enhance all of Long Beach
As some of you may have noticed, Stanley Field is taking on a new image. The project budget includes money from Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, the city of Long Beach and local grants. Total budget including match is $264,000. About half of the funding comes from the Recreation and Conservation Office. The project includes new dugouts, a batting cage, drainage, irrigation, a concession stand/announcer’s booth, parking, and fencing. This will provide for a much-needed facelift and make the park usable year-round with the new drainage system. This park will comply with the American Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. The current estimated schedule: February–June is demolition and ground prep (this is currently underway); February–March the design and engineering take place; and April–September will be the construction phase. October is the target month for completion, and the park’s dedication will be in late October.
One of our projects is the Dune to Pond Trail. This trail will be a link from Discovery Trail and the Boardwalk heading east to Culbertson Park and will cross through downtown on 3rd Street. It will afford us opportunities for physical fitness, interpretation, public art and increased economic development. We have selected the survey/engineering and biological experts, and started the Cultural Resources Survey and the pond pier design has been completed. The city staff is working with Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to get the contractual paperwork in place.
The city of Long Beach has held more meetings addressing the Fourth of July with other agencies over the last month, and continues to work on a course of action to put in place a better, safer and more fun holiday.
Historically, we have primarily dealt with the downtown core of Long Beach. We are currently exploring options to enhance the north and south ends of town. However, we need to look at these areas not only for the community, but for the merchants of Long Beach as well, to improve on the appearance for our community overall.
The city cares about citizen’s safety. Your city staff will be participating in the Pacific County Emergency Management exercises. This is designed to assist us in understanding how the Pacific County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) operates and in turn, help them understand our role in the city of Long Beach and the associated responsibilities in times of disaster. We will be attending these exercises over the course of this winter and spring to continue to help us coordinate and work together. We have four key positions from the city of Long Beach that attend: chief of police serves as the operations section general staff in the South County EOC; fire chief serves as the South County EOC; building inspector serves as the damage assessment manager in the South County EOC; and I, as the mayor, will also be attending to observe the overall operations.
• There are three tabletop exercises followed by a functional exercise for a two-day period in June. The last exercise in June is a national level exercise titled “Cascadia Rising,” an earthquake scenario based functional exercise.
• That said, it is also understood that the Pacific County Emergency Management Agency (PCEMA) Council serves as the policy board for EOC operations — providing guidance on high-level decisions such as re-entry of a damaged area following an earthquake/tsunami.
The city is becoming more energy-efficient and cutting costs. We will be replacing streetlights with white LED lights, which will use less energy and in turn reduce operating costs. The city is working with the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board to replace all PUD-owned streetlights with energy efficient LEDs.
The benefits to Long Beach citizens are:
1. The Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) is paying for the complete retrofit and working with PUD to set a new lower rate charged to the city.
2. Money that would have been spent on the old inefficient bulbs will be available for road maintenance and improvements.
The city of Long Beach joined an insurance pool back in 1989, and as a member receives training to help us minimize claims. The mayor and city administrator attended a regional training on Volunteer Risk Management and the potential liability dealing with volunteers. Our goal is to reduce exposure for the city and the insurance pool as a whole. This is important as the city has many wonderful volunteers and the rules are different based on the various types of volunteers. We have one-time volunteers, continuous volunteers, community service workers, groups like Boy Scouts, Lions Club, etc. As with all risks to the city, we must identify and analyze risks, evaluate alternatives, implement and monitor the levels and types of risk to protect our community. Washington Cities Insurance Authority (WCIA) insures over 175 government entities in Washington State, and reviews where the most common and expensive claims have been filed. They provide training related to all types of claims and identify the most expensive types of claims.
Councilwoman Natalie Hanson and I recently attended Association of Washington Cities Action Days in Olympia. At this convention, we met with the governor, legislators and other city officials on an array of topics. I have been appointed to the Small Cities Advisory Committee, which serves as a resource to the Association of Washington Cities staff, helping to identify training, publications, technical assistance, and legislative needs of cities and towns with a population of fewer than 5,000. During Action Days, I met with our legislators and other legislators outside of our district, gathering support with regards to our city’s needs. Rep. J.D. Rossetti is sponsoring a Capitol Budget Request for the Berm Project in Long Beach, and Rep. Brian Blake from our district and Liz Pike from the 18th District have both pledged support for the bill. Senator Dean Takko is championing legislation giving protection to all cities in Washington State from liability claims for having dog parks and skateboard parks. I am staying in touch with our state representatives and senators. Natalie and I both felt this was a very worthwhile investment for our city.
As a tourism community, the Long Beach Peninsula prides itself on hometown hospitality. We as a community try to be inclusive, inviting, and friendly. To promote this, we are offering an Ambassador Training which is available to all Peninsula merchants, employees, and residents. The Ambassador Training is a great way to get to know your community while inspiring your employees to be the best Ambassadors for your business and the Long Beach Peninsula! The next three Ambassador Trainings will take place March 10, March 24, and April 14 at the Long Beach Train Depot, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is only $10 per person, and a light lunch is provided. To reserve your spot, call 642-1227 or email email@example.com.
I am proud and honored to be your mayor and to have a great staff and city council working to improve our family friendly community.
Jerry Phillips is mayor of Long Beach.