Department heads, city employees and volunteers featured in video address
BATTLE GROUND — Yesterday, Battle Ground Mayor Adrian Cortes shared the annual State of the City Address virtually through a sharp video presentation with some help from the team.
Public works, the police department, the city engineer, Battle Ground Rotary, and even students from Chief Umtuch Middle School contributed to the polished presentation that displayed accomplishments over the past year.
“In 2018, we asked you, what does the future hold for Battle Ground? How do you want your community to look and feel?” Cortes said. “Your answers resulted in the Community Vision & Strategic Action Plan. This plan now guides our work as a city. And with your support, we will continue to make progress.”
The mayor opened with an overview of preservation for the roads that connect the city. Cortes explained that in recent years, the city has allocated $300,000 for street preservation projects. Moving into this year, the city has tripled that budget to $900,000.
The city’s engineer, Ryan Jeynes explained that much of this new funding goes toward completely stripping and repaving roadways, as well as chip and crack filling in preparation for slurry sealing. The city will work from a multi-year plan that guides work and seeks to maximize cost effectiveness. Crews are slated to begin work this summer.
The mayor then transitioned to address the city’s increase in funding for its police department. An additional half a million dollars will be going to the agency this year, Cortes said. Three new police officers have been hired already, and a fourth will be hired soon with grant funding.
Julia MacPhee spoke as the new traffic officer for Battle Ground Police Department (BGPD)
“I’ll be focused on improving public safety with what I call the three E’s,” she said. “The first E is education: working with citizens to elevate understanding of the revised code of Washington regarding traffic laws. Next is engineering: working to identify areas of town that may statistically trend as challenging from a vehicle operator standpoint and advice on remedial actions. The final focus is enforcement: enforcing existing traffic laws in Battle Ground to protect our community.”
Cortes and officer Clint Fraser also took some time to introduce folks to the newest member of the BGPD: the lovable Charlie, their new K-9 unit.
Moving right along, the mayor explained that more than $80,000 will now be allocated to improve public areas, parks and street sides. This project will be undertaken by the city’s public works department, and also has connections with volunteers.
“To be cost effective we’re recruiting temporary crews who work alongside our regular crew over the next several months,” said Public Works Supervisor Todd Klein. “Our staff takes a lot of pride in the work they do. We’re excited to have additional resources to help with beautification efforts.”
Cortez explained that the city will be streamlining all code compliance, to allow for more expedient improvement to neighborhoods and the spaces that connect them.
“The places we live, connect with each other and raise our families will always be at the backbone of our city, and the livability of any neighborhood takes everyone’s effort,” Cortes said. “Our goal is to ensure all city codes are observed to safeguard the well being and quality of life in our neighborhoods.”
Expounding on that same mission, Cortes said the city has enjoyed partnering with organizations like the Battle Ground Rotary Club and students at Chief Umtuch Middle School. Both groups have done extensive work to improve Central Park, and get the word out about their respective goals.
The rotary spent many days with a small army of volunteers to improve the landscaping of the park, as well as install classic plaques and new park benches. Another group helped to install bike racks as well.
Middle schoolers, part of a group called the DREAM Team, also help with landscaping; planting red tulips to remind people to support Battle Ground youth and for youth to live drug-free lives.
“Benches all along East Main Street are being lovingly restored by members of the Battle Ground Rotary Club,” read a voice over during the address. “Two years ago, the club adopted East Main Street in Old Town as part of the city’s adopted street program. Their beautification efforts, including weeding and litter removal, have added to the welcoming nature of the whole town.”
At the conclusion of the address, Cortes reiterated a forward-thinking attitude. He explained that the city will be considering and receiving feedback on new park and outdoor recreation ideas to implement in the near future.
“Battle Ground residents and businesses, you’ve faced real challenges and hardships over the last year, and you’ve proven again the importance of a caring and connected community,” Cortes said. “I’m hopeful for our future and I’m so proud to call Battle Ground home. At the city we have a clear direction. We continue to rely on your participation and support as we work towards creating the future.”