Brainstorm for a better Federal Way | Editorial

Webster's dictionary defines brainstorming as "a group problem-solving technique that involves the spontaneous contribution of ideas from all members of the group."

Another definition for brainstorming: "try to solve a problem by thinking intensely about it."

However you define it, brainstorming leads to goals, and goals lead to plans of action.

The following ideas resulted from The Mirror editorial board's recent brainstorming session about improving economic development in Federal Way. Please share your ideas on how to make Federal Way a better place to live, learn, work and play.

• New businesses: The city government should be more proactive in encouraging new businesses to move to Federal Way. Rather than following the lead of realtors, the city should be actively mining prospects. If a business moves to Federal Way, aggressively follow up on whether other operations of that business can move here, too. Send these job generators a "packet" prepared in conjunction with the school district, police and fire to emphasize the good aspects of Federal Way.

• Permits: Continue the laudable work on streamlining permit processes. Continue protecting the city's environment, appearance, etc.

• Communicate: The city and Federal Way Chamber must communicate. They must foster more collaborations between public and private enterprises.

• Marketing: The city needs targeted marketing. Pick an industry-specific media outlet and advertise in it. Use a sniper approach rather than the current shotgun approach. Make a deliberate effort to attract more diverse businesses that represent the cross-section of Federal Way residents.

• Listen: Figure out what we don’t have that the residents want. Do some community polling and focus forums to ascertain this. Do a topic of the night, break into groups, and toward the end of the night, report back to the whole on what the individual groups suggest. See what shakes out.

• Vacancies: Are the vacant building owners being contacted by the city or Federal Way Chamber? What is the status of these buildings?

• Housing: Restrict new multi-family developments and apartments, which generally become lower income housing. Encourage redevelopment of areas where housing stock is deteriorating. Put up housing designed for higher incomes. If you build it, they will come.

• Tourism: Federal Way already attracts tourism for athletic events such as swimming, diving, baseball, softball and soccer. Federal Way needs to attract regional conventions: Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis, unions, etc. To do that, we need a Performing Arts, Civic and Convention Center.

• Name game: Come up with a new name for Federal Way, or else embrace it like cities such as Truth or Consequences, N.M., Hell, Mich., or Intercourse, Pa. Have a contest for the community or school district to come up with new signs and a new logo. Winner gets a free cruise or a trip to Disneyland.

• Flag waving: How about a contest to redesign Federal Way's presently generic flag? The contest will inspire amateur vexillologists (aka, people who study flags) to examine Federal Way's history, role and meaning in the region. The contest will inject a dose of pride into the city. The more pride that people feel toward Federal Way, the more people will take charge and make Federal Way a better place.

• Recruiting: Hit the road to recruit symposiums and trade shows for builders, contractors and specific industries. Identify an industry and target it. Meld with the Chamber and invest in the green tech industry. Demand results for your investment.

• Take care of blight: While on course for the 10-plus year project to get the Paldo site in force, erect a cedar fence at the top of the wall on the three street-facing sides. With the  street angles, this will hide (mostly) the vacant buildings. Remove all of the vegetation, trees and everything along South 316th Street. Put down mulch to match the west side. Redo the sidewalks. Paint the entire wall gun metal grey. Invite local artists to paint murals of the city's past. Install inscription plaques along the sidewalks to explain what was going on during these periods.

• Vertical garden: See National Geographic magazine's July 2012 edition about giant vertical wall gardens. One of these could become a landmark for Federal Way.

• Carnival: Get the city's heavy equipment over to the AMC Theatres site, then level it. Invite the Funtastic carnival to town for four or five weekends a year. Give people another reason to come downtown. Cap these nights off with a free outdoor movie.

• Embrace the dirt: Give the AMC Theatres site to Federal Way Community Garden Foundation for a super large garden. Proceeds go to Federal Way charities and families in need — and perhaps to other communities, if there's enough to share.

• Change: Give the citizens a sense that you are working on their behalf and that change is a-coming.


Contact The Mirror's editorial board: editorialboard@federalwaymirror.com


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