City Council Discusses Funding, SW 153rd & Wah Long Crime Reports

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by Ralph Nichols

Burien City Council members looked ahead to legislative activity in 2010 during their regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 14th, giving review to a preliminary list of funding requests they will make to both federal and state lawmakers.

Topping that list is advocacy for $4 million in funds from the re authorization of a federal transportation program to continue the planning of a new interchange at State Route 518 and Des Moines Memorial Drive.

The proposed interchange would have “monumental consequences for what [businesses] might locate in the Northeast Redevelopment Area [of Burien], both for the city and the port,” City Manager Mike Martin told council members.

Martin described the businesses that might locate along Des Moines Memorial Drive after a new interchange is built as “big picture stuff,” possibly including an auto mall as well as Port of Seattle-related enterprises.

Local lawmakers also anticipate making a request for a congressional appropriation of $5 million to fund a pilot program for “joint city-Port planning and pre-construction activities, to facilitate the development of airport-affected areas,” including the city’s Northeast area. Additional state funds would be sought in 2011.

Requests to the Legislature next year could include a request for $200,000 to complete Phase I of the Seahurst Park North Shoreline Restoration Project; requests with other local jurisdictions for funding of the depleted Public Works Trust Fund and funding for full implementation of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System standards, and modification of existing legislation to improve services for any future annexation in the remaining unincorporated area of North Highline.

Council members then cast a preliminary glance at possibilities for improving SW 153rd Street between First Ave South and Ambaum Boulevard.

“We all have a lot of concern and wishes for what we can do here,” said Councilwoman Rose Clark. “But I’m not in favor of council doing anything until we bring in 153rd Street businesses” to get their input.

The diversity of businesses along 153rd makes it unlike SW 152nd Street, Mayor Joan McGilton noted. She suggested the possibility of bringing in University of Washington senior architectural students who, under faculty supervision, prepare design suggestions for improving districts within cities.

“This will be a whole different planning process than Burien has been involved in before,” McGilton said. The street “has one of our greatest number of [business] vacancies too, she added.

Police Chief Scott Kimerer responded with a written statement to a number of citizen complaints against the Wah Long Sports Bar at the corner of SW 153rd Street and Ambaum Boulevard, which was described as a nuisance where drug dealing allegedly takes place and drunk and unruly behavior threatens both individuals and property in the area.

“We have begun an investigation of the complaints and will be working with other affected Burien City Departments to address any violations,” Kimerer stated. “Generally, these issues are not resolved overnight but be assured we understand and respect the problems you are experiencing and will work toward a resolution.”

He noted that while the number of calls to the Wah Long have not been extraordinary, “the types of calls the police have responded to are concerning.”

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