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Federal Way Mayor announces new police substation near Transit Center; outlines vision for city
Newly-minted Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell wasted no time in showing that his administration will be different from his predecessor’s Skip Priest’s, during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Ferrell took about a half hour to announce that a new police substation will be in place in the near future at the John L. Scott building near the Sound Transit parking garage and center in downtown Federal Way and also used the time to outline his vision for Federal Way moving forward.
“I’d like to talk to you about a very, very exciting development that occurred just this week,” Ferrell began in announcing the new substation. “A couple of weeks ago, I sat down and was having a conversation with somebody who owned a building in Federal Way, and the person made an offhand comment about ‘We’d sure like to have a police substation near the Transit Center,’ and I followed up with ‘Do you mean that?’”
Ferrell said a number of conversations took place after the initial dialogue with the unnamed building owner, and that he was able to strike a deal to have a new substation near the Transit Center put in place.
“We’ve all heard from you that public safety is the absolute No. 1 priority of government, to make sure that we’re safe, moving forward,” he said. “Part of that is to make sure we’ve got enough officers on the street and that there’s a visible presence. And this will add greatly to that process. Most notably, and importantly, I think, is that we just found out today from the property manager that this space, for the first year, will not come at any cost to the city. They want us there.”
The two other major announcements Ferrell made during the meeting were in regard to the proposed Performing Arts and Conference Center (PACC), and an initiative to have approximately six to seven town hall meetings a year throughout Federal Way during his time in office.
For the PACC, Ferrell said he plans on launching a “three-pronged” strategy that will include a review of pro forma developed for the project, a “Blue Ribbon” committee of financial and business experts from throughout the community, and more public input.
“An important thing I want you to know is that each one of my colleagues on the Council and the staff here at City Hall and in my office, are dedicated to making sure that we have all of the objective information sitting in our hands so that we can make a decision that’s not only based in fact, but supported by the public,” he said of the new strategy regarding the PACC.
Ferrell said the idea for the increased town hall meetings was inspired by Federal Way resident Betty Taylor, a tireless advocate for her part of the community.
“Betty is someone we hear from often … and she (recently) said something that was so profound, about making sure we go back to a system, or custom, that we had of reaching out to the public,” he said. “We’re not just going to do the one or two town hall meetings in which we gather together, listen and move on. We’re going to be doing six or seven strategic town hall meetings in the neighborhoods, at elementary schools around town.”
Ferrell said local leaders on a variety of issues will be invited to these meetings, and that part of the intent of the meetings is to establish metrics of success for each area of the city. After the meetings, those leaders and members of city leadership and the residents will gather together again six to eight months later to see if the chosen metrics are being met.
“That’s something I’ve heard, over and over, that government operates best when it operates from the voice of the people. I’m excited about what we can do together. We’ll have policy initiatives that we’ll be talking about regarding downtown development and all kinds of things, with the common thread to make this a better community together,” the Mayor said.