By Ken Armstrong, Mill Creek City Manager
Editor’s note: This article is being published with the permission of the City of Mill Creek at no cost as a service to the community.
This is second in a series of columns relating to the City of Mill Creek’s 2012 Strategic Plan. As I mentioned previously, the City’s 2012 Strategic Plan articulated six broad goals:
- Maintain Mill Creek’s Community Character
- Provide an adequate level of quality public facilities in a fiscally prudent manner
- Provide a high level of quality public services to the citizens of Mill Creek
- Ensure that Mill Creek maintains a stable fiscal footing
- Enhance economic and employment opportunities in Mill Creek
- Ensure that new growth and development is high quality and provides a benefit to Mill Creek
I am writing today about the goal to Maintain Mill Creek’s Community Character.
Preserving the community’s character is a foundational goal. What makes Mill Creek unique is its aesthetically appealing nature along with a well deserved sense of safety and security. It is therefore important that future economic development, annexation and public facility construction strategies be aligned with and true to this goal.
During the 2012 strategic planning process, residents were asked what community attributes or characteristics were most important to them. Input was solicited in a variety of ways including community stakeholder interviews, outreach at community events, an open house forum and a random telephone survey. The thing that residents noted and appreciated most about Mill Creek is its quality of life – its small-town feel, its safety and its pedestrian-friendly environment. Add to that, the quality of local schools and the fact that Mill Creek is primarily a residential community with beautiful parks and large amounts of open and green space it is easy to see why many residents view Mill Creek as a quiet safe sanctuary set within the larger Puget Sound metropolitan area.
Last year’s telephone survey, done with a 95 percent confidence level and a margin of error of 4 percent, reinforced the notion that community character needs to be an important factor in planning for the City’s future. The survey revealed that more than 80 percent of respondents felt that maintaining Mill Creek’s small-town feel is a high priority. More than 80 percent of respondents also believed that keeping the city’s development standards high (setting the city apart from neighboring communities) is of great importance. Nearly 90 percent of those taking the survey indicated that it is very important for the City to preserve its natural beauty by maintaining high environmental standards. And, more than 90 percent of the people reported that having convenient access to safe walking areas is especially critical to them.
As the region continues to grow and as Mill Creek considers how to maintain its economic vitality, the City Council will be discussing and making decisions regarding, among other things, annexation and economic development. I know that the City Council (and staff) is committed to making decisions that comport with the goal of maintaining the City’s character.
Ultimately, community character is, and will continue to be, a critical element in planning for Mill Creek’s future. It is the reason most of the City’s residents move and live here.
As always, please feel free to contact me or drop by – I welcome your feedback!
You can contact Ken at 425-921-5724 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.