City Council Summary: May 23, 2022

A student group recently completed a survey of Lakewood residents about climate change. The survey generated 212 responses representing a range of ages, incomes, and races. 91% of respondents believe that the global climate is changing, and 89% attribute that to humanity.

The survey revealed attitudes towards climate change and challenges in reaching underrepresented populations. The students engaged residents through flyers, social media, mailings, personal interviews, and elsewhere.

The students recommended continued engagement with residents about climate change. The group cautioned against a message of personal responsibility. Rather, they said, the responsibility belongs to institutions to affect sound policy.

Mayor Whalen listens to a group of UW students presenting findings of a climate change perceptions study conducted in Lakewoood.
UW students Charlee Thompson, Cassidy Berlin, Eric Villanyi, and Tori Chapman present their climate change perceptions study.
Deputy Mayor Mary Moss engages students about a climate change perceptions study conducted in Lakewood.

The Planning Commission met to discuss several pending topics. The commission is considering the recommendations of a tree advisory committee. The group proposed many improvements to current tree code. A related public hearing will be held on July 6.

The Planning Commission works on planning, redevelopment, transportation, and zoning. Their third-quarter work will prioritize Comprehensive Plan updates, tree code, and housing policies.

Pierce County Recreation Supervisor Jen Spane reviewed specialized recreation programming. The City of Lakewood has helped the county overhaul special needs recreation programming.

Specialized recreation programs include “Camp Lots of Fun”, art & sports activities, and social events. Activities are hosted most days in Lakewood. On Tuesdays, the group hosts bowling events at Bowlero Lakewood.

“I just love these ladies. They are so amazing at planning these programs. I love being with my friends and I appreciate them putting this prom dance together last Saturday – it was so awesome.”
– Lauren, a specialized recreation participant

Park accessibility is a top priority for the City. Fort Steilacoom Park received an all-abilities playground not long ago. American Lake Park will soon receive accessible ramps to reach the beach.

The City is working with Pierce College to plan improvements to the Fort Steilacoom Park baseball fields. The smaller fields will receive turf infields, and the Pierce College baseball program wishes to establish a “home field” in the park. The home field would be an NCAA-compliant field complete with turf, fencing, dugouts, a scoreboard, seating for 250+, ADA access, batting cages, lighting, and more.

The field nearest the park entrance is the likely location for the Pierce College home field. The field would be a local attraction. Walkable proximity to local businesses would contribute economically to the neighborhood. Planning is ongoing, so questions about noise and soccer field rearrangement are still being discussed.

The Pierce College home field is likely to occupy Field 1, the easternmost field.

The City is considering replacing park entrance signs. Current signs are fairly small and low contrast. Wards Lake Park, for example, is difficult for residents to locate due to its location and inconspicuous sign. New signs would be more welcoming and more obviously define our parks. The City Council expressed interest in designs harmonious with current city entrance signs.

Lakewood’s main library will close Sunday, June 5. The last day of service will be Saturday, June 4. The library system may attend an upcoming City Council meeting to provide an update. A citizen advisory board is being formed to help the library envision future facilities in Lakewood.