Mayor’s Message: 39 reasons why this is a great place to live

Mayor’s Message for the October 2018 Town Topics newsletter

I can think of 39 reasons why Fircrest is such a great place to live. They are the 39 year-round employees of the City of Fircrest.

You see some of them fairly often — the police officers, the parks and recreation team, and the Public Works crew members who maintain our streets and utilities.

Then there’s a group that you may see only on occasion. Our planning and building staff work with residents and businesses on construction permits, code enforcement, etc. Our Municipal Court staff are fair and professional, even though many of the “customers” they encounter aren’t there because they want to be (unless they’re coming in to get a passport).

And finally, there’s a group of employees you’ll probably never see, but who are crucial to the city’s operations. They work behind the scenes to handle the city’s finances, process criminal records, maintain our buildings, manage administrative services, and keep our information technology systems functional, among other key tasks.

These employees really know our city. Twenty employees have worked here for at least a decade — and seven of those have been here at least 30 years! That’s a lot of institutional knowledge. Police Chief John Cheesman tops the list as he approaches his 36th year of service to the City of Fircrest. Public Works foreman Jeff Davis is only a year behind the chief.

I’m also glad to see new hires come in. They bring fresh ideas and experiences. Twelve of our 39 employees have worked here less than two years.

At the time of this writing (in early September), our newest employee is named Lindsay and she works in our Finance Department. Who knows — maybe a future mayor of FIrcrest will congratulate Lindsay on her 30th work anniversary in 2048.

Mayor’s Message: what should Fircrest be like 20 years from now?

Mayor’s Message for the August 2018 Town Topics newsletter

When people ask you what it’s like to live in Fircrest, what do you tell them? Can you define what it is that makes Fircrest feel so special?

The seven members of the Fircrest City Council joined with the city’s department heads in a half-day workshop in June to talk about our collective mission, vision and goals. A mission statement should define the city’s objectives and approach. In other words, it reflects who we are. The vision statement should reflect who we want to be in the future.

We started our workshop by talking about the current mission and vision statements, which were written years ago:

Mission: To enhance the quality of life where we live, work, and play, the City of Fircrest provides its citizens with efficient, courteous, professional services.

Vision: To protect and enhance our identity and quality of life and promote open and honest communication that builds a trusting environment. We will inspire a stronger community by working together toward excellence.

Personally, I feel those statements are accurate, but too generic. They could be written for lots of nice cities and towns. As our workshop discussion revealed, there were words, phrases and descriptions that speak in greater detail to who we want to be. In response to the question of what should Fircrest look like 10 to 20 years from now, here is some of what I heard that day:

Fircrest is family friendly. Our neighborhoods are safe, healthy, accessible, and connected. We remain true to the historic designs when the city was founded. Remodels and infill projects fit within the scale and character of neighborhoods. Neighbors look out for each other. Residents volunteer their time and talent to support the city, and they give constructive feedback to local leaders to help boost pride in living here.

The pool and community center are beloved sources of pride, and our efforts to update them reflect the needs of the community. We love our parks, trees and landscapes. The city works to protect and nurture our beautiful natural environment. Our commercial areas are an important asset to the community and offer goods and services that our residents desire. Our infrastructure — the backbone of the community — is sound and regularly maintained. Fircrest continues to feel like a small town even as it engages in the larger metropolitan area.

That last line is a key one, in my opinion. There’s a feeling people get when they enter Fircrest, and it’s a challenge to capture that feeling in the dry language of municipal codes that regulate development. We will never stop trying to figure out how to write codes that nurture the city’s character in a rapidly changing world.

What do you think? Did we miss anything? Feel free to send me your thoughts and I will share them with the City Council and staff. You can reach me at hgeorge@cityoffircrest.net or 115 Ramsdell St., Fircrest, WA 98466.

In Fircrest, girls rule

I’ve been wondering about the demographics of Fircrest because of different experiences I have:

  • At least a couple of times a week, I’ll mention to someone that I live in Fircrest, and their reply is “hey, I grew up there, and my parents still live there.” That gave me the impression that Fircrest’s population is generally older.
  • My circle of friends has revolved around five years at Whittier Elementary, four years with the Fircrest Soccer Club, and lots of time at the Tot Lot and the Rec Center facilities.
  • A key reason we bought our house in the Commons at Fircrest is because it’s packed with families and kids. My daughter is one of two dozen kids who get on the bus to Narrows View Intermediate in the mornings.

So, who are we? Here is some data from the 2010 Census.

At the time of the Census in April 2010, there were 6,497 residents in Fircrest. Of those, 3,501 were female and 2,996 were male. (This is where my daughter would shout “Girls rule, boys drool!”)

Here’s a breakdown of the population by age group:

Under 18 years

1,515

18 to 64 years

3,856

18 to 24 years

457

25 to 44 years

1,609

25 to 34 years

775

35 to 44 years

834

45 to 64 years

1,790

45 to 54 years

991

55 to 64 years

799

65 years and over

1,126

I’m not surprised by the data. It shows we have a lot of families with kids, lots of people of working age, and lots of retirees. I think that shows a nice diversity of age, experience and perspective.