At the Kent City Council meeting on Tuesday night, May 7, 2024, Mayor Dana Ralph presented several proclamations.

The Council also highlighted fun family events like the Kids to Parks Day and the Teddy Bear Clinic. Councilmembers shared updates on public field access and an upcoming art exhibit. Public comments addressed concerns about enforcing the fireworks ban.

Finally, the Council approved bids for park renovations, creek restoration, and improved school safety measures.

Employee Of The Month

Chris Sprague was chosen by his peers for the honor of May Employee of the Month. Sprague was hired in 1991 as a police officer, and then in 2008 moved to his current position as Police Training Administrator and Range Master. His duties include collaboration and networking with various law enforcement agencies and courts. He has given 32 years of dedicated service. Mayor Dana Ralph said that Sprague has an infectious smile and big personality. Sprague could not be present to receive the award.


Five proclamations were read by Mayor Dana Ralph. The first honors the 95th anniversary of Kent Guild of Seattle Children’s Hospital. According to the proclamation, the Guild has raised over $1.6 million since its establishment. This money funds the Uncompensated Care Program at the Children’s Hospital, so children get the best care possible.

The second proclamation recognises May as Bike Everywhere Month. Bicycling decreases urban congestion and is an economical means of transportation, as well as a health-promoting activity. Kent has several popular trails for bicycle recreation and commuting, including the Interurban, Soos Creek, and Cedar River trails.

The third proclamation honors May as Jewish American Heritage Month. The proclamation states that 2% of the population is comprised of Jewish Americans, and they have made contributions in all aspects of our society. Unfortunately, they still regularly face antisemitism in their daily lives. Kent wishes to celebrate our Jewish neighbors, and stands firmly against acts of hate.

The fourth proclamation honors of National Correctional Officers Week, May 5 – May 11. Correctional Officers are trained law enforcement professionals that keep all our correctional facilities operating safely. The proclamation explains that correction officers serve in many different capacities, including jail administrators, chaplains, nurses, social workers, teachers, managers, and supervisors. They provide offenders with direction, hope, and a new focus.

The final proclamation honors May 12 – May 18 as National Police Week. In addition, May 15th is Peace Officers Memorial Day. The proclamation describes the importance of recognising the duties, responsibilities, hazards, and sacrifices inherent in police work. The Kent Police Department provides a vital public service, working to strengthen trust and build a safer community.

Community Events

Kids to Parks Day will be from 9 a.m. to Noon on May 18. This annual national event aims to get more families outside to discover and explore the great outdoors. This year the event will include a nature themed bingo game, and the removal of invasive species at Van Doren’s Landing Park. More info can be found on the Green Kent Event Calendar.

Also on May 18 is the Teddy Bear Clinic. At this free event, children can bring their teddy bears or other stuffed animals to receive care and attention from firefighters at Fire Station 74, from 10am to 1pm. The first 400 children can receive a free teddy bear as well.

In addition the annual Bicycle Rodeo is also happening on May 18. More details about this fun family event can be found in the above link.

Council Updates

Councilmember Zandria Michaud reported that the city has come to an agreement with the Kent School District for public evening and weekend use of the field at Canyon Ridge Middle School. In return, if council approves, the city will install lighting in the field. In addition, the Kent Laboratory Academy playground and field are also open to the public evenings and weekends.

Councilmember Brenda Fincher shared that on June 5th from 6-7:30pm there will be a Summer Art Exhibit just across the parking lot from city hall at the Centennial Center Gallery. This free event will offer refreshments and a chance to meet the artists.

Public Comments

One speaker implored Council to enforce the fireworks ban. She said the lack of enforcement has created a situation where the fireworks have gotten worse over the years, and in recent years the noise of explosions lasts for weeks. She said she made a public records request to see how many times the police went out on fireworks calls last year. It was only four times, and each of those times they only issued a warning. She said if people can afford to buy the fireworks, they should have to pay the fines for setting them off illegally.

Bids Approved

Council approved three bids. The first is to renovate the Kiwanis Tot Lot. There will be two new playgrounds with swings for various ages. Construction will start this month, and should be done by the fall. The bid came to $424,876, in the range of the city’s estimated cost.

The second bid is for the long-awaited reestablishment of Mill Creek, between E. Smith Street and Central Ave N. The project involves removing 40 years of sediment, in order to restore the creek’s natural processes. Staff have been actively working on getting permits for this project since 2010. The work, which will cost $3,292,409, will take place this summer. 

Lastly, the Safe Routes To School program, which is partially funded by state grants, will cost $329,554 in order to install “school zone” flashing lights around seven schools. The intention is to create safer conditions for walking and biking to schools.

Mellow DeTray

Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 17 years raising her family in the region. For many years she published 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.

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