Photo Credit: David Welton

State of the City

Excellent things are happening in the Village by the Sea

Over the last year, the City of Langley has made great strides in all aspects of our community development. There are many people who play a vital role in this success. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the many people who work to make that progress in our Village by the Sea.

The City Council’s willingness to take time, care, and attention to the issues facing our city has been inspiring. In addition, without the relentless focus and love for this community that the employees of the City of Langley, its citizen committees, civic partners, and volunteers have, we would not be in the bright position we find ourselves in right now.

I thought the citizens might enjoy seeing what we have achieved by working together. Too often the good works are overshadowed by the large or contentious issues of the day. This is a partial list of what has been achieved so far.

With the help of City Council and the Planning Advisory Board, the Comprehensive Plan was not only completed, but accepted by the Department of Commerce. This plan embodies the community’s goals and policies and projections for the next 20 years while defining Langley’s Urban Growth Area. In keeping with Langley’s character, public art was included as part of this plan.

The City of Langley has applied for and been awarded $2.2 million in grants for streetlamps, RCEDG small capital projects, streets, sidewalks, and complete streets. Additional infrastructure highlights include completing the city’s Sewer Comp Plan, major utility investments by Whidbey Telecom and Puget Sound Energy, and receiving an EPA Waste Water Treatment Award.

City Hall now boasts a full staff, has extended its hours to be open half days on Fridays, added an ADA door, and started collecting commercial sewer fees where appropriate—all under budget for 2016 and still running under budget year-to-date in 2017.

A key legislative initiative included lobbying at the state level for Main Street Associations to restructure the Main Street Tax Credit Program. Closer to home, the city passed an Inclusive City Resolution and is now the first Police/Rescue organization in Island County to employ Narcan.

The City of Langley works closely with the Port of South Whidbey, the Langley Chamber of Commerce, Langley Main Street Association, and Island County to increase economic development. More than 20 new businesses have sprouted up and there has been record chamber participation. Island County has transferred the fairgrounds to the Port of South Whidbey.

You can see the increased vitality as you walk through downtown Langley. Many downtown buildings have received facelifts along with a new Second Street Rain Garden, the Clyde Alley Archway, 3 new sculpture bases (7 works on display). But even outside of the core, there is increased activity including a new subdivision in Upper Langley and more than 20 permit applications for homes and/or ADUs. With this new energy, a public/private Art Consortium ($6000 in private contributions) and a Seawall Park planning committee have been established.

This increased interest is due—in part—to our collective focus on tourism. Marketing efforts and event promotion we support financially through our civic partners have resulted in record attendance. These events include the Sea Float Scramble, Mystery Weekend, Welcome the Whales Festival, Bunny Daze, Island Shakespeare Festival, Queer Pride Parade, DockStock, Soup Box Derby, DjangoFest, Spooktacular Langley, Lighting of Langley, Holly Jolly Parade, Very Merry Giveaway, and Deck the Doors. We provide economic support to the Langley Main Street Association, Langley Chamber of Commerce, Island Shakespeare Festival, WICA, Whidbey Children’s Theater, and Langley Whale Center. Marketing pieces such as Seattle Refined television segments, the SeaTac Shuttle wrap, the Langley Art Trail walking map, garden and art videos, and the Victoria Clipper coming to our harbor for 12 whale-watching tours have provided even move exposure. The result of all this—we have seen record-breaking sales and use tax and accommodations and real estate excise tax revenues.

The City of Langley strives to work together with stakeholders both within the county and regionally by participating in the Community Health Improvement Plan, Council of Government, Island Regional Transportation Planning Organization, Law and Justice and Island County Law and Justice Plan, and Island County Substance Abuse Council.

We are excited about the reopening of The HUB Afterschool program; a prime example of how our nonprofits and churches work together on a daily basis within the community. The City of Langley has tried to do its part by hosting five public meetings on various topics and providing financial support to Senior Services and the Whidbey Island Homeless Coalition. We help fund community events such as the Second Street Dance and the Community Potluck that help the community come together for fun and laughter. It’s no wonder we were voted #5 in Coastal Living’s Happiest Seaside towns in the U.S.

On personal note, I appreciate getting to wear my “themed” white tux at amazing events within this close-knit community and I never forget how lucky I am to live in the Village by the Sea. It’s hard not to feel fortunate as I look out on the Salish Sea from my desk here at City Hall. I remain grateful to serve as the Mayor of Langley and to have the opportunity to work side by side with so many talented and giving people.

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