City of Yakima

Yakima City Council Meeting Preview

The Yakima City Council holds its next regular agenda business meeting on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014. The meeting begins at 6:00 pm at Yakima City Hall.

Items on the September 2nd agenda include:

-      Adoption of the proposed 2015 state legislative and administrative priorities

-      Selection of a preferred downtown Yakima plaza design

-      Discussion concerning potential budget impacts related to a proposed reduction in the City utility tax rate

To see the complete agenda for the September 2nd Council meeting, click on the following link http://bit.ly/1pEO1XF

Yakima City Council regular agenda business meetings air live on Charter Cable channel 194 and are replayed at 7:00 pm the following day. The meetings are shown again at 9:00 am on the following Saturday and Sunday and are also available on the City of Yakima website – www.yakimawa.gov

Windows Alive! Project Is Back for Second Big Year

Last year, the Yakima Arts Commission, an advisory group appointed by the Yakima City Council, developed an idea to harness the creativity of Central Washington artists to help invigorate windows of empty downtown storefronts by displaying their work as part of a new project called, “Windows Alive!”. Based on similar projects that have proven successful in other cities, “Windows Alive!” is part of an ongoing effort to bring new life and activity to Downtown Yakima.

Following a submission and evaluation process that took place earlier this summer, six outstanding artists from the region were chosen to be part of the 2014 “Windows Alive!” exhibition, which will run from September 26th through January 25th. To kickoff the project’s fall exhibition, a reception will be held on Friday, September 26th from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on the first floor of the JEM Building located at 321 East Yakima Avenue. The six artists chosen to display their work through January 25th of next year will be on hand at the reception to talk about their pieces and to help explain the concept of the “Windows Alive!” project.

“Empty windows in unoccupied storefronts send a message that isn’t very positive,” said Yakima Cheryl Hahn who is chairperson for this year’s “Windows Alive!” project. “The idea behind ‘Windows Alive!’ is to fill those storefront windows with beautiful art and create a more engaging and vibrant environment downtown. The project also gives local artists a wonderful opportunity to showcase their work,” said Hahn.

The six artists who were chosen for “Windows Alive!”, each of whom received a $250 stipend, are Lynda Adams (digital media prints), Gretchen Bartz (painting), Alice Beckstrom (glass) , Carol Fletcher (fiber art), Craig Hotchkiss (sculpture installation), and Christie Tirado (serigraphs, woodblock prints and linocuts). After the first displays complete their four-month run in January, they will be replaced with a new set of displays that will go up in February.

In addition to the contributions made to the project by the Yakima Arts Commission, support has also been provided by the City of Yakima, JEM Development, Inc., Stems, Gasperetti’s, Action Window Cleaning, David Lynx and the Yakima Bindery.

For additional information is available at www.windowsalive.com

 

Windows Alive Project News Release pdf

Citywide Road Resurfacing Project Update

A citywide street repaving project that began about four months ago and will continue until this fall will affect traffic in several areas of Yakima from September 2nd through September 5th. The project involves reconditioning more than 90 lane miles of roads and will cost a total of $15 million. The “grind and overlay” project is now about 40% complete.

From Tuesday, September 2nd through Friday, September 5th, periodic lane closures will occur each day from 6:00 am to 4:00 pm on MLK, Jr. Boulevard from Pierce Street to 1st Avenue, MLK, Jr. Boulevard from 1st Street to 8th Street, Lincoln Avenue from 6th Avenue to 16th Avenue, Mead Avenue from Pleasant Avenue to Fair Avenue, 3rd Avenue from Walnut Street to D Street, 4th Avenue from Tieton Drive to Lincoln Avenue, 5th Avenue from Tieton Drive to Lincoln Avenue.

Various sections of the following streets will be also be completely closed to traffic overnight from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am on different days during the week of September 2nd to September 5th.

-        16th Avenue from Nob Hill Boulevard to Englewood Avenue

-        4th Avenue from Tieton Drive to Lincoln Avenue

-        3rd Avenue from Walnut Street to D Street

-        6th Street from Pacific Avenue to Lincoln Avenue

-        D Street from 1st Street to 5th Avenue

-        Lincoln Avenue from 6th Avenue to 16th Avenue

-        MLK, Jr. Boulevard from Pierce Street to 1st Avenue

-        Yakima Avenue from 12th Avenue to 16th Avenue

-        Walnut Street from 1st Street to 8th Avenue

-        Nob Hill Boulevard from 3rd Avenue to 1st Street

-        Washington Avenue from 1st Street to 16th Avenue

Detour routes will be in place so drivers can go around the closed portions of those streets.

A map showing the sections of roads that will be repaved during the project is posted on the City’s website at http://www.yakimawa.gov/apps/streets/resurfacing/. Updated travel alerts related to the resurfacing project can also be found by clicking on that link.

While the grind and overlay work is underway, traffic delays in the project areas will occur. Drivers should use alternate routes if possible until the work is completed.

Access to homes and businesses in the project areas will be maintained as best as possible and emergency vehicles will be allowed through the project areas if necessary.

As always, the schedule for these types of projects is subject to change daily dependent on weather, equipment failure, and emergencies.

For additional information regarding the grind and overlay project, contact Senior Engineer Bob Desgrosellier at 575-6228.

Grind and Overlay Project Update – News Release

Pilot Program Shows Strong Interest in Curbside Recycling

Even though the data that’s been compiled during a four-month pilot curbside recycling program that the City of Yakima’s Refuse & Recycling Division conducted is still being tabulated and analyzed, all indications are that the experiment was a success.

From early May through August 29th, about 540 homeowners in neighborhoods east and north of Kissel Park (3000 West Mead Avenue) were asked to participate in the free pilot project. Each of the houses in the pilot project area was provided with a 32-gallon garbage cart, a 96-gallon yard waste cart, and a 96-gallon recycling cart. Homeowners were encouraged to put grass clippings, tree braches, garden rubbish, etc. in the yard waste cart, plastic drink containers, cardboard, paper, metal cans, etc. in the recycling cart, and non-recyclables like glass containers, food residue, toy packaging, etc. in the garbage cart.

“The neighborhood really got on board with recycling,” said Refuse & Recycling Manager Loretta Zammarchi. “We had about 400 homes in the pilot project area participate on a regular basis. That means that and average of about 73% of the homes in the pilot project set carts out every other week,” said Zammarchi. “That is a high level of participation for sure.”

Over the course of the pilot project, more than 22 tons of household recyclables and nearly 60 tons of yard waste were collected. Consequently, the amount of garbage normally collected in the neighborhood and hauled to the Terrace Heights Landfill decreased significantly.

“Current estimates are that the Terrace Heights Landfill will be full in about 11 years,” said Zammarchi. “When that facility closes, the City will have to haul garbage much further and at a greater cost to the Cheyne Landfill in the Lower Valley. We need to figure out now how we can decrease the amount of garbage that goes to the landfill so we can be as responsible as possible not only because of the costs involved but also from an environmental standpoint,” said Zammarchi. “Recycling may be one way to get there.”

Zammarchi and her staff and now in the process of finding out from the homeowners in the pilot project area what they did and did not like about curbside recycling. Homeowners are being asked to fill out a survey, either in a hard copy form delivered to their homes on online on the City’s website, by September 8th and a focus group discussion that will take place in the next few weeks will give the City an even clearer picture of how people who participated in the pilot project felt about it.

Once all the data has been collected and evaluated, a report will be presented to the Yakima City Council. It will then be up to the Council to decide what, if any, steps would be taken to implement a curbside recycling program in Yakima.

Pilot Curbside Recycling Program – News Release

 

Second Half of Lunchtime Live Concert Series Features Variety

The decision to split this year’s Lunchtime Live concert series into two sessions in order to avoid the hottest part of the summer seems to have been a fortuitous one. The last few months have seen record high temperatures. Now that the weather is cooling off a bit, the series will once again fill Downtown Yakima’s Performance Park with a wide variety of music for five consecutive Fridays beginning on September 5th.

During its inaugural run in 2013, the series featured 13 performances from June through August. This year Lunchtime Live was split into a seven-week run from early May through mid-June and a five-week session from early September through mid-October.

Sponsored by Solarity Credit Union and Stewart Subaru, the second session of the 2014 Lunchtime Live series will start on September 5th with Gideon’s Daughter, a three-piece Americana band that performs throughout the Northwest. Bradford Loomis will bring his folk sound, which is popular throughout our region, to the Lunchtime Live stage on September 12th and will be followed on September 19th by Navid & Friends, an acoustic pop group led by Yakima favorite Navid Elliot.

Hot Barbecue will add its roots country vibe to the Lunchtime Live series on September 26th. The October 3rd show will feature Chelan native Olivia de la Cruz and her lyrical, soulful sound. The 2014 Lunchtime Live series will close on October 10th with the Portland-based indie/folk group Merilous.

All of the Lunchtime Live shows take place at Performance Park, located on the corner of 2nd Street and S Sgt. Pendleton Way, and run from 11:45 am to 1:15 pm.

To find out more about the Lunchtime Live concert series and the many other events taking place throughout the year in Downtown Yakima, visit www.downtownyakima.com.

Lunctime Live Lineup – News Release

Joan Davenport Named Director of Community Development

In the 27 years Joan Davenport has worked for the City of Yakima, she has served in a variety of roles ranging from an entry-level Associate Planner to a Division Manager and as an acting Department Director. Beginning September 1st, Davenport will take on yet another new task as the City’s Director of Community Development.

“Joan has excelled in every assignment she has been given during her outstanding career with the City,” said City Manager Tony O’Rourke. “She has a wealth of experience and knowledge and has developed a strong reputation within the local development community. The City of Yakima is fortunate to be able to benefit from having someone of Joan’s caliber as part of its senior management team,” said O’Rourke.

After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in urban planning, Davenport took a job as an Associate Planner with Albemarle County, Virginia. In 1984, she was promoted to a Senior Planner position with Albemarle County. In 1987, Davenport moved across the country to take an Associate Planner position with the City of Yakima. Three years later, she was promoted to Supervising Associate Planner. In 1999, Davenport moved to the City’s Streets & Traffic Division to become the Supervising Traffic Engineer.

For a short time in 2008, she served as acting Streets & Traffic Division Manager before being tapped as the City’s Planning Manager in 2009. Davenport filled in as acting Community & Economic Development Director in 2011 while the City was undergoing a major organizational restructuring. As part of that restructuring, the new position of Strategic Project Manager was created and Davenport was chosen to fill the role.

The organizational restructuring also included the creation of the new position of Director of Community Development. Steve Osguthorpe was hired in 2012 as the City’s first Director of Community Development. He resigned in June of this year to take a similar position with the City of Mount Lake Terrace. Davenport has been serving as acting Director of Community Development since Osguthorpe resigned.

As Director of Community Development, Davenport will oversee the City’s planning, neighborhood development, code administration, animal control, and City Hall maintenance operations. Her salary will be about $122,000 a year.

Community Development Director – News Release

Utility Work to Close a Portion of South 18th Street

Installation of a water line for a new business project will result in the closure of South 18th Street between East Nob Hill Boulevard and East Viola Avenue on Thursday, August 28th. The work will begin at 5:00 am and should be completed by 3:30 pm.

Detours around the construction site will be available, but because of heavy traffic volume in the area, motorists can expect delays in the project area. Drivers should use alternate routes if possible until the work is completed.

Access to homes and businesses in the project area will be maintained as best as possible and emergency vehicles will be allowed through the project area if necessary.

As always, the schedule for this type of project is subject to change daily dependent on weather, equipment failure, and emergencies.

For more information about the project, contact Water Distribution Supervisor Emilio Lopez at 575-6196.

Installation of Water Line on 18th Street – News Release

City Launching Third Annual Yakima Citizen Survey

Two years ago the City of Yakima began asking the community to help identify its most important challenges and opportunities by taking part in an annual citizen survey. Results of the first two Yakima Citizen Surveys have contributed significantly to decisions made by the City Council as the City’s programs and services were redesigned to make them better aligned with the needs of the community.

Phase 1 of the 2014 Yakima Citizen Survey will begin on Thursday, August 28th when 3000 randomly-selected community members will start receiving postcards notifying them they have been chosen to fill out this year’s questionnaire. The actual surveys, which will be available in both English and Spanish, will be mailed out between Thursday, September 4th and Thursday, September 11th and have to be returned by Thursday, October 9th.

National Research Center, Inc., which has conducted the first two Yakima Citizen Surveys, is also overseeing this year’s survey. Results of Phase 1 of the 2014 Yakima Citizen Survey are expected to be available in late October or early November.

As has been the case the past two years, an online version of the survey will be posted on the City’s website following the completion of Phase 1 on October 9th. Links to both the Spanish and English versions of the online survey will be included in a news release issued by the City once they are available.

This year’s Yakima Citizens Survey contains virtually the same questions that have been included in both the 2012 and 2013 questionnaires. Survey takers are asked to rate various aspects of Yakima including quality of life, safety, events and activities, City services, local government performance, and specific programs or projects the City should focus on. Survey takers are also asked to provide certain demographic information including age, employment status, income, and ethnicity.

Results of each year’s survey are compared to the findings of previous surveys to determine if progress is being made in meeting the needs of the community and if issues identified by community members as requiring improvement are being addressed by the City. Results are also compared to those of other cities to see how Yakima measures up to national benchmarks.

The survey also allows the City to ask three custom questions. In previous years the City has included custom questions concerning recycling, car tabs, potential property and sales tax increases, and which programs and services the City should invest in. This year’s custom questions focus on events people would like to see at the Capitol Theatre, funding a potential aquatics facility, and which programs or projects the City should invest in including, specifically, parks and recreation facilities.

Annual Yakima Citizen Survey – News Release

Citywide Road Resurfacing Project Update

A citywide street repaving project that began in May and will continue until this fall will affect traffic in several areas of Yakima from August 25th through August 29th. The project involves reconditioning more than 90 lane miles of roads and will cost a total of $15 million. The “grind and overlay” project is now more than one-third complete.

From Monday, August 25th through Friday, August 29th, periodic lane closures will occur each day from 6:00 am to 4:00 pm on MLK, Jr. Boulevard between 1st Street and 8th Street and on Lincoln Avenue between 16th Avenue and Pierce Street.

Various sections of the following streets will be also be completely closed to traffic overnight from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am on different days during the week of August 25th to August 29th.

-        16th Avenue from Nob Hill Boulevard to Englewood Avenue

-        5th Avenue from Walnut Street to Yakima Avenue

-        4th Avenue from Yakima Avenue to Lincoln Avenue

-        3rd Avenue from Yakima Avenue to D Street

-        6th Street from Lincoln Avenue to Pacific Avenue

-        Lincoln Avenue from 16th Avenue to Pierce Avenue

-        MLK, Jr. Boulevard from 1st Street to 8th Street

-        Yakima Avenue from 12th Avenue to 16th Avenue

-        Walnut Street from 1st Street to 8th Avenue

-        Pierce Avenue from Summitview Avenue to Lincoln Avenue

Detour routes will be in place so drivers can go around the closed portions of those streets.

A map showing the sections of roads that will be repaved during the project is posted on the City’s website at http://www.yakimawa.gov/apps/streets/resurfacing/. Updated travel alerts related to the resurfacing project can also be found by clicking on that link.

While the grind and overlay work is underway, traffic delays in the project areas will occur. Drivers should use alternate routes if possible until the work is completed.

Access to homes and businesses in the project areas will be maintained as best as possible and emergency vehicles will be allowed through the project areas if necessary.

As always, the schedule for these types of projects is subject to change daily dependent on weather, equipment failure, and emergencies.

For additional information regarding the grind and overlay project, contact Senior Engineer Bob Desgrosellier at 575-6228.

Citywide Road Resurfacing Project Update – News Release

Repaving Project to Impact Traffic on Arlington Street

Periodic lane closures on a four-block section of Arlington Street will affect traffic for most of each day from Monday, August 25th through Friday, August 29th while crews repair and repave the street.

In addition to the periodic lane closures, no parking on Arlington between 40th Avenue and 44th Avenue will be allowed while the project is underway.

During the project, traffic delays in the area are likely to occur. Drivers should use alternate routes if possible until the project is completed.

Access to homes and businesses in the area will be maintained and traffic will be allowed through the project area when possible.

As always, the schedule for this type of a project is subject to change daily dependent on weather, equipment failure, and emergencies.

For additional information about this project, contact Streets and Traffic Operations Manager Joe Rosenlund at 576-6430.

Arlington Street Repaving – News Release