When I was walking through the Father’s Day Car Show this summer, I felt hope that our community was beginning to recover and a return of the Burien community spirit that makes this city so special. It’s exciting to see Burien’s community spaces beginning to fill with people. Some community events that had been canceled in 2020, like the Father’s Day Car Show, National Night Out, and Boulevard Park Block Party, have come back. Our busy Farmers Market, which now runs all year, continues to provide fresh and healthy foods while supporting entrepreneurs and food producers. To see people gathering again is good news for our community and our local businesses.
Burien investment continues
While we are sad to see that 30 businesses closed their doors for good last year, we are excited to welcome the 32 new businesses that are opening. People are investing in Burien. Kinect@Burien is bringing 230 units of market-rate housing to downtown Burien, Habitat for Humanity is building affordable family housing, and new affordable supportive housing will help people experiencing homelessness achieve stability. Several schools in our community are getting new playgrounds and new natural spaces and several parks are getting much needed upgrades.
Reopening government services
We are taking a phased approach to reopening city buildings and services. Burien City Hall and the Burien Library coordinated plans for reopening.
Our hardworking staff served the Burien community throughout the pandemic, and most were able to continue their work from home. We discovered there are benefits to supporting employees who can work from home without sacrificing productivity and service. Reducing the number of hours employees spend driving also reduces our city’s carbon footprint. We’ve made significant investments into our technology systems so more services, such as permits and public records requests, can be delivered online. This is part of a larger strategy to improve customer service, improve employee efficiency, and meet Burien’s climate action commitments.
Public safety investments meet community demands
To enhance public safety and provide a continuum of care for people experiencing crisis, the City Council approved our recommendation to hire a social worker focused on downtown Burien, create a Community Response Team comprised of both mental health and emergency medical professionals, and hire a police officer to share space with Discover Burien and provide storefront services.
Expanding protection against COVID-19
COVID-19 is still with us, and we remain vigilant in monitoring trends and public health guidance. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated and to support each other through what will be a long recovery. We are grateful for the efforts of King County Fire District No. 2, Public Health – Seattle & King County, and the countless health care providers and community organizations that stepped up to provide opportunities for people to get vaccinated. But more progress is needed. For the protection of our young children and others who can’t, more people who can need to be vaccinated. This isn’t over yet. We can’t stumble at the finish line.