By Sarah Brusig
The Des Moines City Council meeting on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022 was called to order at approximately 6 p.m. In attendance were Des Moines Mayor Matt Mahoney, Deputy Mayor Traci Buxton, Councilmembers JC Harris, Jeremy Nutting, Gene Achziger, Vic Pennington, and Harry Steinmetz.
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Mahoney turned the mic over to City Manager Michael Matthias to address what he called “miscommunication” regarding the Masonic/Landmark building.
“We appreciate you coming out and we appreciate your concerns – and we share your concerns,” Matthias said. He spoke next of the history behind the building and said “there were at least five separate bids on that property to purchase the property” 15 years ago. “The City met with every one of those developers… and with the Masons.” Matthias said maintaining and preserving the building was a feat none of the developers could align on and, ultimately, “contracts lapsed.” Matthias said the “Masons, after 100 years of not placing the building on a historic register to protect it, took action to sell it – lowering the price – and signing a demolition permit as part of the transaction to facilitate the sale.”
A public comment on the subject by Crystel Davidson read, “I used to love riding my bike as a kid through Zenith and by that beautiful building. It has so much potential. It also gives people a reason to come to Des Moines and ride that walk-on ferry. Please consider the possibilities. Don’t commercialize it with common things, make it unique and save its character and charm, and history! Nobody wants more ugly apartments or some mansion. There is so much ugly these days. [S]ave this Beautiful place. Save this for the people.”
On another topic of volume in the Redondo Beach area, Ann Waara said, “The noise and racing that takes place in and around Redondo Beach Dr. South consistently in the evening hours meets with, and typically exceeds, the criteria set out in city ordinance 1595 with respect to noise restrictions and 1747 with respect to racing.”
Waara implored Council to enforce the laws.
“Signs are placed on all three hills that lead to Redondo Beach Drive South which clearly read such ordinances will be enforced, however the signs are NOT in a conspicuous place where they can be seen by persons racing and/or making noise and therefore are not a deterrent; further, the police presence is not adequate during evening hours to deter or enforce these ordinances,” Waara shared. “Would it not benefit all parties concerned, i.e., the city, the police, the Redondo residents, the persons making noise, the persons racing, to relocate the signs?”
Another public comment was received by Debbie Walls, this time regarding Des Moines’ Waterland Festival.
“I would like to say thank you to whoever was in charge of the Waterland Festival this year. I only participated in the kids activities, so I can’t speak to all the events. The children’s activities were wonderful! I appreciated that it was donation instead of a cost to participate,” Walls shared. “Everything was organized, well run, families had a great time, and our beautiful city was at its best!”
City Manager Report
In the City Manager Report, Michael Matthias issued an update on the new passenger ferry in Des Moines. Deputy Mayor Buxton asked for signage guidelines for branding and promotion. “The Des Moines Fast Ferry” is the verbiage that will be used and logos will be shared at a later time for the Des Moines City Council to endorse. Digital marketing deadlines are being planned for spring 2023.
Chief of Police Report
Des Moines Police Chief Ken Thomas issued a report on the impact of National Night Out and an Oregon mother who left her car running while at a local gas station with her 6-month-old baby inside when the car was stolen. It was a happy ending for the family, who were reunited.
The Consent Calendar was discussed next, which included the following items: Approval of Vouchers, Approval of Minutes from the April 28, July 7, and July 14, 2022 Regular Council meeting minutes, Lodging Tax Advisory Committee Spending Recommendations, 2022 Summer Waterland Events – Agreement with Destination Des Moines, Acceptance of Vehicles from 2021 and 2022 WASPC Mental Health Field Response Team Grant, Barnes CreekKent-Des Moines Road Culvert Project Agreement GCB 3395, Amendment No. 1, with Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Kent-Des Moines Road and 16th Avenue South Pipe Project 2022-2023 Consultant On-Call Agreement for Engineering Services, and North Fork McSorley Creek Diversion Project – Construction Contingency Increase.
The next Des Moines City Council meeting will be held on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022.
City of Des Moines Comcast customers can view council meetings live on Channel 21. Meetings are also rebroadcast on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday following a council meeting at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Des Moines City Council also posts meetings on YouTube.
Sarah Brusig has been in media and publishing for over 15 years and previously served as the president of the Society of Professional Journalists – Western Washington chapter. Sarah is the recipient of the McCormick Foundation New Media Women grant and was presented with the Community Builder Award by Rep. Pramila Jayapal. She resides in South King County where she regularly advocates for human rights, animal rights and education. Keep up with Sarah on Twitter and Facebook or to reach out with story ideas/suggestions.