Shaping Kirkland's future | What's working and what's not (Poll)

As a community, we need to ask ourselves what we want for our future

For Kirkland, the past decade has been one of many ups and downs. We have watched our services levels decline as our taxes continue to rise. Some would say that Kirkland missed much of the last economic wave as we fought amongst ourselves with lawsuits and building moratoriums. Conflicts over development issues have caused many to wonder what the future holds for Kirkland in the next decade. Are we against all development or just opposed to certain developments? Should we prepare now to take advantage of the next economic wave or should we leave that others in the region.

The conflicts over development are fresh in our memories, and they express a schism in town over how Kirkland should move forward.

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Is Kirkland a little city with a big appetite for growth, or are we just a bedroom community? Do we look to the future with a sense of hope and opportunity, or do we fear change and the unknown? Are we content playing second fiddle to Bellevue or do we want to challenge them on regional issues... or does anyone outside of City Hall even care?

We have many challenges ahead. Big changes are coming just a few months from now when the population of the City of Kirkland will grow to over 80,000. Providing services to the 33,000 people Kirkland will annex on June 1 will be no small feat. City Hall's attention will rightly be focused on expanding services. What impact will the influx of new Kirkland voters have on our city council?

It will likely wont be until the end of the decade until we see completion of the Kirkland Parkplace redevelopment. The start of that almost mythical redevelopment project called Totem Lake Mall may be even further in the future.

What do you want Kirkland to be like in the next decade? The policy choices we make today will shape our city of tomorrow.

Before we can make decisions about tomorrow, we need to assess where we stand today. Over the past four months, Kirkland Views have been gathering statements from Kirkland citizens, asking them to describe their city. Below are 44 descriptions of Kirkland today as submitted by local residents. How many of the following descriptions about Kirkland have you heard before? How many do you agree with?

  1. Kirkland was founded by wealthy British landowners
  2. Kirkland's story is that of the blue collar working man
  3. Kirkland's traditional bungalows are being replaced by "mega mansions"
  4. Kirkland is "progressive"
  5. Kirkland is green
  6. Kirkland's Moss Bay Days were a time of celebration and civic pride
  7. Moss Bay Days were better referred to as Moss Bay Daze
  8. Kirkland needs to be more family friendly
  9. Kirkland is a hamlet
  10. Kirkland was to be "the Pittsburgh of the West"
  11. Kirkland is a bedroom community
  12. Kirkland is becoming a "Bellevue"
  13. Kirkland is "the Sausalito of the Northwest"
  14. Kirkland is a downtown on the lake
  15. Kirkland is a developer's nightmare
  16. Kirkland is all about process
  17. Kirkland is strengthened by its strong neighborhoods
  18. Kirkland is Balkanized by it's neighborhoods
  19. Kirkland is neighborhoods
  20. Neighborhoods provide a counter balance to development interests
  21. Neighborhoods have too much power
  22. Totem Lake is Kirkland's economic engine
  23. Totem Lake is a sleeping giant
  24. Totem Lake is an underachiever
  25. The first three words out of City Hall are NO, NO and NO
  26. Downtown is Kirkland's living room
  27. Downtown is quaint
  28. Downtown needs to grow and promote economic activity to thrive
  29. Downtown development needs to maintain the "bowl" shape by limiting building heights
  30. Downtown needs more population density
  31. Downtown needs more parking
  32. Downtown needs to be a pedestrian-only car-free zone
  33. Annexation will bring more new blood, new ideas and new opportunity
  34. Annexation will give Kirkland more clout regionally
  35. Annexation will cost too much
  36. Kirkland historically has grown through annexation
  37. Kirkland cherry-picked its annexation areas in the past
  38. Kirkland parks are our "crown jewels"
  39. Kirkland parks maintenance should be farmed out to private contractors
  40. Kirkland is about art, culture and galleries
  41. Kirkland needs more tourism
  42. Kirkland is broke
  43. Kirkland has a Napoleon complex
  44. Kirkland is my home

If nothing else, these descriptions tell us that Kirkland is a vibrant community. The mix of answers is quite varied and includes both harsh criticisms and inspiring perspectives of our city.

The future is ours to shape. It is our responsibility to leave Kirkland a better place than when we found it. By addressing these issues, we hope to encourage the dialog about Kirkland's future.

[box]There are many histories of Kirkland, each one different; some based upon historical records, others based upon memories of days long gone bye. One recommended source of information about Kirkland's past is the Kirkland Historical Society (KHS). Matt McCauley shares his research from the archives of the Kirkland Historical Society in the series, A Look To The Past: Kirkland, found on these pages. It is a series of stories about the people who founded our region and well worth reading.[/box]