Plans for the Gig Harbor Trolley’s summer return are already underway from Pierce Transit, with a partnership agreement with the city set to be in place by Feb. 28.
Community development administrator Tina Lee gave an update to the Gig Harbor City Council at Monday’s meeting, providing some highlights that Pierce Transit has planned for 2017.
“The most exciting project is the Gig Harbor Trolley,” she stated, which will return June 1 and run through Sept. 4.
Ridership on the trolley has seen a 14-percent increase in 2016 from the previous year, with ridership numbers reaching 16,166.
“Our plan is to continue to operate that service, and we’re looking forward to it. We’ve received some really good input from the community,” she said. “We know that the riders are really satisfied with the service.”
She added that the trolley operator training will begin in May, when Gig Harbor residents will be able to see the trolley’s out and about in the community.
Also new in 2017 is an increase in service hours, with 25,000 additional hours implemented in March and another 10,000 in September.
“Over the last few years we’ve had to cut a lot of services because of the recession and we’re proud to be adding those services back,” Lee said. “The community will start to see more frequent service … and some service later into the evening.”
This increased service includes improving connections between services and a partnership with Uber beginning in June to connect riders just outside service areas with their closest public transport routes.
New Gig Harbor police officer
Gig Harbor welcomed its first new hire to the police department with the swearing in of Officer Jeff Martineau at Monday’s meeting.
Police Chief Kelly Busey introduced Martineau to the City Council and assembled crowd, including Martineau’s wife, Nicole, and their 6-year-old daughter.
“He’s an experienced officer,” Busey said. “One thing that’s impressed me with Jeff in his background is his commitment to community policing ... he’s a real people person.”
Martineau has 13 years experience with the Orting Police Department and has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Washington State University.
Mayor Jill Guernsey administered the oath of office to Martineau and welcomed him to Gig Harbor, taking a moment to thank the rest of the Gig Harbor Police Department for their support in attending the meeting.
“I think that speaks volumes for Gig Harbor, that we are a team,” she said.
Emergency shelter generator funding
Busey presented a request to the Council from Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church for a mini-grant of funds to cover the cost of an emergency generator for use in the church’s role as an emergency and first responder shelter.
Chapel Hill has been working to fund the cost of a generator since last summer after receiving a $50K grant from Puget Sound Energy, which was matched by church funds. Further funding for the approximately $120,000 project was received from the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor, church members and other anonymous donors.
Don Lee and Dan Griswald, representatives from Chapel Hill, spoke to the Council about the church’s role as an emergency shelter for the community.
“The need for sheltering is going to be when, not if,” Lee said.
They added that the church coordinates with the Pierce County Department of Emergency Services and the American Red Cross to meet the requirements as an emergency and first responder shelter. The church has the capacity to house 243 people in the event of an emergency.
The city of Gig Harbor was asked for a $5K mini-grant to cover the remaining cost of the generator, which was approved by unanimous vote from the Council.
The next City Council meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Gig Harbor Civic Center. A full list of city meetings and agendas can be found online at cityofgigharbor.net.