Public Service – A Rewarding Experience
My passion, which I began to realize many years ago, was in creating great public spaces that stimulate private sector investment which together, create a special place and experience for those in the community to enjoy. More recently, I have given considerable thought to my personal legacy as being one of place making, whereby I have the opportunity to create well designed and environmentally sustainable places where people want to live, work, and gather ~ a place where you can make life long memories.
I want to leave behind a series of great public places that stimulate private sector investment and/or redevelopment that achieves the vision of the community. The ability to help shape and lead a community towards creating a strong sense of place or commons is extremely gratifying and provides substance to my life and allows me to extend beyond my own mortality.
My current city (City of Bothell, WA) has assumed the role of master developer by assembling property in its downtown necessary for public infrastructure improvements and selling the remaining land for private sector redevelopment consistent with the community’s vision. This development is the largest municipally led revitalization effort in the state. Every parcel of land sold by the City for private development is an opportunity to leverage public-private partnerships. The market is highly competitive, especially in a very
challenging economic environment. Public-private partnerships are necessary in order for projects to achieve the community’s vision and to be viable. All of these developments have required a tremendous amount of leadership, fortitude, and support from all involved to implement the community’s vision.
I simply love helping transform communities from dream to reality. I believe that change is possible because I have learned to never underestimate the power of a community’s dream to motivate people to action. To date, Bothell has broken ground on nearly $95 million in projects as part of a total $150 in planned infrastructure improvements that, according to economic studies, will leverage $650 million in private investment over the next 25 years, create 8,400 temporary construction jobs and 1,367 permanent family wage jobs. When Bothell first started on its revitalization dream eight years ago, most people believed that the plans we were attempting to implement would never get off the ground in terms of gathering community support, let alone finding a way to fund nearly $95 million in investments today. I am proud to boast that already over $200 million in private investment is in the development pipeline or under construction today.
We set some monumental goals in Bothell, and at the time not knowing how we would accomplish such a grand vision and dream. Yet we moved ahead and we are still moving closer to the community’s dream because of these grand ambitions. Over my 27 years of public service, I have participated in and have observed a lot of time and energy spent debating, analyzing, arguing about the present, the needed code change, the lack of funding, or the need for more funding and have shifted the focus to spending our time on what really matters ~ building great public places that energize private sector investment, which is what is of utmost importance and fuels my passion.
Whether it’s revitalizing a downtown, building infrastructure improvements, providing affordable housing opportunities, or providing a safe and protected community, public service is a fulfilling career and allows us to find new ways to leave a legacy and play a small part in bringing community together, creating lasting memories.