In the spirit of the holiday season I feel it is important to reflect on the blessings of community.
Federal Way is home to nearly 90,000 people, but it has an impact on many more because of its location and many businesses located here are regional, national or global.
Federal Way is a decent place to live. It is also a city that, from my perspective, could be great. The legacy of our cumulative choices before and since incorporation has built a basic needs city. But growing a city is a continuum, a process of constant change and, of course, there is room for improvement.
Elections are about change. Sadly, they are not about results. As voters, we have to put our faith in those we elect to be good stewards. We can support their efforts and be part of the dialogue by attending their public meetings.
As we ponder what is next for our city and what may occur in 2014 and beyond, I’d like to offer some considerations for moving Federal Way forward in its challenges for creating a next generation sustainable community.
Quality schools and education are paramount for creating a positive impression and value for the community. But, it does not happen in a vacuum. Quality comes from having high expectations for the students, staff and a sense of collective responsibility from the student’s family and the community.
Success does not come from blaming; it comes from encouragement and creating a supportive environment in the home, school and community. Schools and many of the students in Federal Way need our compassion if all are to achieve at their highest level. Consider being part of the solution and give financial support or volunteer where there is a need.
In terms of economic development, we need to make our case for, “Why Federal Way.” We need to see Federal Way as the opportunity that its initial developers believed it could be.
While this city was conceived in the hey-day of suburban planning as a counterpoint to the ills of Seattle and Tacoma, we have grown to share many of the same challenges. We need to become more willing to consistently invest our community’s value in our schools and developing a well-rounded cultural and economic base. We need to become less of a bedroom city and more of an employment destination. This will require a better-educated workforce and a more entrepreneurial attitude.
Government creates the infrastructure for residents to benefit from quality-of-life amenities and for businesses to set up shop. But for business growth, relocations to occur and entrepreneurship to take root, it requires quality schools, cultural amenities and mobility access. Businesses recognize that when solid community resources are in place, they are able to maximize their investment.
We need to capitalize on our location and resources. Federal Way is ideally situated to attract international businesses due to its proximity to the airport and two seaports. This city has several office park buildings that are underutilized and available for high tech, financial, engineering or other businesses that require highly educated people.
Federal Way may be late to the challenge of being an incorporated city but its potential has yet to be realized. What is missing is a can-do attitude. We must work to overcome this city’s entrenched negativity and propensity for thinking small.
So as we reflect on our personal and collective blessings this holiday season, I’d like each of us to appreciate the successes this city has achieved and consider what we can do to make Federal Way a next generation city of choice.
Contact Federal Way resident Keith Livingston at firstname.lastname@example.org