Many citizens were able to witness a series of growth presentations by each city department at recent Gig Harbor City Council meetings.
The series of study session discussions were entitled “The Impacts of Growth,” and presentations were spread across the fall council meetings with a purpose of educating city council members, city staff and citizens as to the expected growth to come in and around Gig Harbor.
The city of Gig Harbor has experienced unprecedented growth over the last 10 years and currently, the city is the third-fastest growing city in Pierce County. In order to understand and prepare for such growth, these presentations were held. The introductory presentation, “How are we growing,” offered by Planning Director Jennifer Kester on Sept. 28, provided information about city population growth, how we compare with other Pierce County cities, types of housing developments in the pipeline, and where the growth is taking place.
In addition, information addressed the focus of developers and how Gig Harbor is becoming a regional magnet for commercial projects.
Follow-up presentations were provided by Public Works, Planning & Building, Police, Finance, IT, Tourism & Communications, Human Resources, Court and Administration. All presentations are viewable on the city website at www.cityofgigharbor.net/impacts-of-growth/, and the following are a few notable facts and figures:
▪ The city’s 6-Year Transportation Improvement Plan Key Capacity Projects include improvements to roadways such as Harbor Hill Drive, Wollochet Drive, 38th Avenue, Burnham Drive, Rosedale St./Stinson Avenue Intersection, Hunt Street Undercrossing, SR-16/Burnham Drive Ramp Metering, and an SR-16 Congestion Study.
▪ Public Works crews have seen an approximate 300-percent increase in customer service requests since 2008.
▪ Public Works infrastructure has seen a 200-percent increase since 2008.
▪ Upcoming City Planning projects include Olympic Towne Center (Fred Meyer, Family Fun Center), Village Center (Central Market), Harbor Hill Business Park, Peninsula Shopping Center and Bujacich Lift Station.
▪ From 2010 to 2015, city population grew by 1,429, from 7,126 to 8,555 residents.
▪ Construction inspections are at an all-time high at 6,285 (as of October 2015). This has surpassed the total number of inspections in 2014 of 6,253.
▪ Planning & Building inspects all new businesses (about 100 a year).
▪ In 2014, the Gig Harbor Police Department saw an average of 663 calls for service per month, 12 traffic collisions per month, 39 misdemeanor/felony arrests per month, 7.6 DUI arrests per month.
▪ In 2015, the Finance Department processed the most business licenses ever: 933. In 2014, the number was 750.
▪ In 2015, the City IT staff worked to phase departments into cloud computing.
▪ The City Tourism & Communications office has more than 22,500 followers on social media and a successful tourism video campaign saw over 128k internet views worldwide.
▪ Gig Harbor Municipal Court handled 2,139 case filings in 2015 with live phone assistance, meaning no waiting in line or taking a number. In 2014, case filings totaled 2,087.
Human Resources staff handles our current 98 employees. Shortly, when we have 100 employees, HR will be required to collect a series of required data and provide annual reports to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The backbone for the city staff is Administration. Administration handles all external and internal client requests for information and documents, recording of legal documents, and tracking of terms for 57 Commissioners on eight boards and commissions.
Stay tuned for more information regarding the impacts of growth for Gig Harbor and our surrounding community. For complete information on all of the city presentations, please visit our website at www.cityofgigharbor.net.
To learn more about exciting events and activities happening this month in Gig Harbor, view our comprehensive visitor information calendar at www.gigharborguide.com.
Happy New Year!