By Mellow DeTray
Here’s our recap of Tuesday night’s (Feb. 7, 2023) Kent City Council meeting:
Black History Month Proclamation & Celebration
Black History Month has been celebrated officially since 1976, but its roots go back to 1926 and Negro History Week, observed the second week of February. The observance evolved into Black History Month during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Black American achievements throughout the history of our country are celebrated and recognized, and every aspect of our culture is made stronger by the progress and courage of our diverse communities.
The Proclamation was accepted by Gwen Allen-Carston, Executive Director of Kent Black Action Commission (KBAC). Gwen let everyone know about the upcoming annual Juneteenth event on East Hill, which includes food, music, and dancing, and everyone is welcome to join the celebration. Here is a link for last year’s Juneteenth event, for an idea of the itinerary. This year it will take place on June 17th.
2022 Employee of the Year
The city’s 2022 Employee of the Year is Josh Bava, who in 2022 was promoted to Commander, and was hired in 2007. He has served in many capacities in his over 16 years on the Kent Police force and is an engaged leader and mentor. He is a statewide and regional expert in cracking down on street racing, and has been a leader in working to hold the organizers and promoters of these deadly events accountable.
The Kent 101 Course begins Thursday, Feb. 9, with 34 students signed up for the weekly sessions. The free program is open to people 16 and older who are residents or business owners in Kent.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. on March 14 at Kent-Meridian High School for Mayor Dana Ralph’s State of the City Address. Ralph will discuss accomplishments of City Hall, as well as what’s on the horizon for Kent.
Washington’s Small Business Flex Fund has been providing low interest flexible loans for many small businesses in Kent, to help continued recovery from the pandemic. The program has funded 26 applicants for a total of over $2.5 million, with 15 applications currently being processed. Here is the link to apply for a Flex Fund loan.
Small business revenue in Kent is increasing as well, up 30% from 2021, although there are 6% fewer small businesses than before the pandemic. Consumer spending is up in all categories except entertainment, which is down 24%. Hiring is robust, particularly by Boeing, with low unemployment numbers, but tech company jobs are down.
The former Top Foods building has been sold to Rhino Investments, who bought it to use for retail space. It is possible that one of the retail uses will be a grocery.
New design codes aim to build a more worker-friendly industrial area. Seven major projects have been constructed, six of which incorporate the new design standards. These designs include more light and windows, more attractive buildings and entrances, and a focus on the human environment.
Watch video of the full meeting below:
Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 16 years raising her family in Burien. She has volunteered at many local establishments over the years, including the Burien Library, Burien Actors Theatre, and Hot Feet Fitness. After working for ten years at Burien Community Center, she moved on to teaching fitness classes and to work the front desk of a Burien yoga studio. For many years Mellow kept a moderately popular cooking & lifestyle blog, and she had a brief stint in political journalism during a local election. Clear and informative writing has always been a side hobby of Mellow’s and she looks forward to bringing you unbiased coverage of City Council meetings.