King City holds virtual State of the City presentation
In what everybody hopes will be the last of the virtual King City State of the City addresses, city council members, June 16, outlined their thoughts on the vision of King City going forward.
Mayor Ken Gibson opened the online event hoping better days are ahead, as more people are being vaccinated and the pandemic gradually subsides.
"We're still guarded, we're still cautious, but I'm looking forward to next year when, more than likely, we'll be live," he said.
The presentation kicked off with comments from Kate Mohr, one of the new members of the City Council.
Addressing local business, Councilor Mohr said, "We all know that this past year and a half has been incredibly challenging. I was really happy to see King City step up last spring and reach out to our local businesses and make sure that our businesses had the support that they needed moving through COVID."
Mohr continued, "We did see some businesses go and we saw some businesses have to close and then reopen. We also saw a lot of businesses that stayed open and were essentially open the entire time."
Noting that assisted living facilities had to work hard to keep everybody safe and healthy during the pandemic, Mohr told the online audience, "There has been a lot of really wonderful collaboration in our community with businesses."
Mohr handed the meeting over to Shawna Thompson, the other new member of the City Council, who addressed growth in the city and a future town center area.
"My vision begins with a bike path/walking trail that leads from the existing King City Park to the town center," Councilor Thompson said. "I would love to see nature trails and nature parks branching off along the way."
Upon arriving at the town center, Thompson envisions a large open area with a duck pond, fountains, restaurants, coffee shops, personal service businesses and residential living spaces above the commercial spaces.
"I would love to see a Trader Joe's as an anchor store in the town center, as well as a King City library," Thompson added.
King City is known for its neighborhoods, and Councilor Smart Ocholi addressed the importance of homeowners associations in the growing city.
"We have homeowners associations for a reason," Ocholi said. "They help us to keep this place as beautiful as it is right now. They have done a great job."
King City is also known for its community park, and Councilor Micah Paulsen addressed improvements that have been made at the popular gathering spot.
He noted that the entire playing surface was taken off in 2019. The field was re-surfaced and drainage was put in.
"If you've noticed and have been in the King City area for a while, our park used to have a field that was a mud pit for the most part of the year," Paulsen said, adding, "We now have a field that can be played 12 months a year. Trees have been planted in the park to provide extra shade."
Paulsen noted that in 2020 and 2021, a baseball and softball backstop was installed as well, providing safety for those who walk along the paths.
Also at the park, two small pony walls have just been installed at the park circle.
"Those are a great place for people to meet and to gather," Paulsen said. "They will also be the canvass for a brand-new mosaic our community is putting together, which will be a neat project for the community, made by the community."
Future goals, according to Paulsen, include re-surfacing the walking path that surrounds the playfield, additional benches and trail improvements.
Jaimie Fender, City Council member and president and founder of the King City Community Foundation, spoke of the importance of cohesion in the King City community.
"The special place in my heart, in this community, is really focusing on how to bring cohesion and a sense of community between our diverse populations," Councilor Fender said. "We have such an amazing city of mature adults and young families with really young children."
Fender noted that King City has an active Girl Scout troop.
"I have it on good authority that, likely, next month, they're going to come to the city and present an idea to create some Peace Poles within the city," Fender said.
If approved by the city, those poles could be placed in "traditional" King City as well as down by the park, Fender suggested.
Fender said, "We are also looking forward to creating a 'Spruce Up the City' event, where we will be partnering with the Girl Scouts and major stakeholders within the community."
Describing the future of King City, City Manager Mike Weston said, "We still have the master plan process going. We're about halfway through the master plan process with a lot of good detail that's going to happen over the next six to eight months."
Weston added, "We're really looking forward to refining some of those objects or projects that are coming out of the transportation system plan and really refining some of our systems."
Gibson wrapped up the State of the City praising his city's leadership.
"I don't think King City could have a better team representing them," Gibson said. "We've been elected to make good decisions, but they may not necessarily be popular decisions. But I think we're up for that challenge."
Gibson said, "We all have one focus, and that one focus — and we're on the same page with it — is to do whatever we can to make King City the absolute best it can be."
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