All hands-on-deck for City of Maple Valley administration and staff members as they brought a down-home happy birthday celebration to the community on Monday, August 28, complete with hamburgers/hotdogs and all the fixings. And what would a birthday celebration be without cake (supplied by Maple Valley Fred Meyer) and ice cream (supplied by Maple Valley’s Nutty Squirrel).
Prior to the main event, SE 248th St. (by the Community Center) gained an honorary designation to its name – Iddings Way. Resolution 17-1167 passed by Council on July 24th officially recognized former Mayor Laure Iddings with the special designation. The resolution stated that she was instrumental in the incorporation of the City as well as acknowledged for her outstanding civic service to the City. Then it was off to the birthday party waiting at the Lake Wilderness Lodge.
As part of the party Dan Nicholas of the Maple Valley Historical Society brought Maple Valley area’s first firetruck to the festivities – a 1926 Howard Cooper Fire Engine. Once inside, displays were posted here and there reminding guests of years gone by.
Once the crowd was pretty well fed, Mayor Sean Kelly introduced the current Council of Deputy Mayor Dana Parnello, and Councilmembers Linda Johnson, Bill Allison, Erin Weaver, Les Burberry, and Megan Sheridan. He also acknowledged a number of faces in the crowd while letting everyone know that Maple Valley was big on partnerships.
Familiar faces taking to the podium to wish happy birthday to the City began with King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn. Recognizing all the hard work that went into helping to make the City what it is today, Dunn also took a little trip down memory lane as he spoke about a blinking light at 4 Corners as well as all the changes Hwy. 18 had gone through to get where it is today. He quickly mentioned that originally, the area was known as Vine Maple Valley before being shortened to Maple Valley. He rounded out his comments by reading a King County Council proclamation signed by Dow Constantine naming August 31, 2017 (the City’s official incorporation day) as Maple Valley Day.
King County Sheriff John Urquhart was happy to note that Precinct 3 was reopened in Maple Valley in 2014, which was one of his top priorities. He has same time and again that the public deserves to have a police station to go to. Sheriff Urquhart thanked the attendees of the celebration for their kindness and politeness, and he even bragged a bit about Maple Valley’s “fantastic police department,” which of course is part of the Sheriff’s Office. He reiterated the department’s goal to reduce crime and the fear of crime, which ultimately seeks to keep everyone safe.
Former Mayor Laure Iddings gave a brief history of the events and efforts that went into incorporating the City of Maple Valley. While the Tahoma School District (TSD) and Maple Valley Fire and Life Safety (MVFLS) were the main staples of the growing unincorporated community, there were other volunteer organizations that helped the area function like a city, even though it was not an official city. They included the Maple Valley Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Maple Valley Community Center, Rotary, Historical Society and Maple Valley Days.
In the early 1990’s King County adopted its Growth Management Act (GMA) and established urban-rural boundary lines throughout all of King County. Those lines meant that all areas on the “rural” side of the line would be governed/controlled by King County and all areas on the “urban” side of the line would become a part of a city – either by annexation or by incorporation.
For the Greater Maple Valley area (which always identified its boundaries with those of the Tahoma School District), this meant that the newly “urban” designated areas of Wilderness Village and Four Corners would be expected to annex to nearby Black Diamond, possibly Covington and/or Kent – OR – if feasible, the area could incorporate and become its own city.
With support from the Greater Maple Valley area council, and with their funding of $7500.00 for a feasibility study, it became clear that the “urban” portions of the Great Maple Valley area would/could be a viable incorporated city. The area could “for the same tax dollars or less, provide services at the same level or greater.” Petitions were signed; the incorporation effort went to the ballot in the fall of 1996; and 80% voted YES for incorporation.
After commenting on how the City had grown into a successful and family oriented City and wishing Maple Valley a happy birthday, Iddings turned the mike over to Deputy Mayor Jim Flynn. Laughing at being limited to only 3 minutes for him to make more historical comments, Flynn went on to state that there were a few bumps along the way in the early days. With a 3-year building moratorium in place, the work the first Council was under was astounding. While most citizens did not understand all the ins and outs of building a city, the Council was also on a learning curve.
Finally, after approximately 4-5 years, the Council picked up its stride having learned a lot about the restrictions set on the City by the State. It was during those first few years as a City that there was a very “family-like” atmosphere as the Council, staff and residents worked together to create a great place to live.
“We were a very close-knit community at the time of incorporation,” said Flynn, “as shown by the 80% approval rate on the incorporation vote, and that there was a common vision for our future.”
He went on to say that the City is now maturing and even bringing some awards home these days. In his parting comments, Flynn mentioned that after building a “family” oriented city, he hoped that one day his kids would make Maple Valley their home.
Back for a little more history, Iddings thanked the City for recognizing its history. As part of that history, she recognized 12 people that made up the original Maple Valley Incorporation Committee including herself (Chair), Jim Flynn (Vice Chair), John Olson, Wayne Petterson, Steve Taylor, Debby Hall, Tom Selecta, Chris Costenbader (who made an amazing Powerpoint presentation even in a day when Powerpoint was in its infancy), Ed and Pat Boogaerts, Henry Hollwedel, and Evan Morris, who gave $500 as a start-up fund for the new City. During the 4-month transition period, the Chevron station was used as the City’s first mailing address and the first City Hall where business was taken care of came out of the trunk of then City Manager John Starbard’s car.
TSD Board President Mary Jane Glaser congratulated the City for reaching such an “auspicious” landmark. “The Tahoma School District has appreciated the important partnership that has developed and sustained all these years. We educate the children from your families who depend on your leadership for, among many things, safety, amenities and a strong sense of community. As the new school year begins, we look forward to continuing and growing our partnership, especially in the important work around mental health. Thank you for supporting our mutually important initiatives. Your public service is vitally important and continues to make a difference in the lives of your citizens. We wish you well, now and in the future.
At the time Maple Valley was looking into being a city, MVFLS Fire Commissioner Chair John Herbert wondered – why do we want another city? However, as he looks at it today with its sidewalks, tree lined streets, beautiful parks and sports fields, he found that it far exceeded his expectations. He discovered that growth can be managed and then thanked the City for all its support.
The first ever Keys to the City were given to twenty-one recipients. After each Councilmember gave a brief history about the person, the recipients were presenting with their Key to the City. Recipients included a special one given posthumously to Sandi Sutton Wasmund with her daughter receiving the Key. Other recipients included Brett Habenicht, Bob & Cheryl Castagna, Chuck Hardaway, Cindy Webb, Colleen Starr, Dave Pilgrim, Joe & Evelyn Defrisco, Dick Peacock, Elise Lewis, Jack & Kim Emmons, Fritz Gottfried, Irvalene Moni, Jim Flynn, Laure Iddings, Linda Johnson, Mary Jane Glaser, Mike Maryanski, Storm McNeil, Syd Dawson, and Bill & Sue Van Ruff.
Other special guests in attendance included, State Representative of the 5th District and Tahoma High School graduate, Paul Graves; KCSO Major Greg Thomas, Commander of Precinct 3; MVFLS Fire Chief Aaron Tyerman and former Board Member Jeff Granlund; TSD Superintendent Rob Morrow and Board Member Tami Henkle; former Maple Valley Councilmembers Layne Barnes, Noel Gerken, and Chuck Hardaway; Black Diamond Mayor Carol Benson and Councilmembers Tamie Deady and Janie Edelman; Covington Mayor Jeff Wagner, and many others hidden amongst the crowd.
For more information about the City’s history see Stories from Maple Valley at the City’s website: http://www.maplevalleywa.gov/home/showdocument?id=16846
WHEREAS, the early history of the community of Maple Valley originally centered around logging, coal mining, and access to the Northern Pacific Railroad; and
WHEREAS, when the community of Maple Valley was formally named by vote of the community in 1879 it was called Vinemaplevalley, later shortened by the post office to Maple Valley; and
WHEREAS, in the early 1960s Washington State Route 18 opened, running through the center of the community, increasing access for residents to Auburn and North Bend; and
WHEREAS, the community continued to grow and expand until the early 1990s when unincorporated Maple Valley was designated as an urban growth area; and
WHEREAS, when the community was threatened to be annexed into either the City of Kent or Black Diamond, citizens of Maple Valley decided to formally become a city recognized by the State of Washington; and
WHEREAS, the City of Maple Valley was officially incorporated on August 31, 1997, and this year marks its 20th anniversary;
NOW, THEREFORE, we, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Metropolitan King County Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn, proclaim August 31st, 2017, as MAPLE VALLEY DAY in King County in recognition of this significant milestone in the history of Maple Valley.
DATED this twenty-eighth day of August, 2017.
Dow Constantine, King County Executive and Reagan Dunn, King County Councilmember, District Nine