As preparations continue for the city of Liberty Lake’s 10-year incorporation anniversary on Sept. 3, a few historic numbers are being included in the conversation.
The decade of cityhood had its preamble with 800 residents of the then-unincorporated area voting to establish a municipality in November 2000. The figure represented 64.7 percent of the electorate and easily swept in a new beginning for what would become Spokane County’s easternmost city.
The incorporation of Liberty Lake became official on Aug. 31, 2001.
On Tuesday night, the Liberty Lake City Council continued to map out the schedule for a celebration that will coincide with the annual Lud Kramer Memorial Concert in Pavillion Park featuring the Spokane Symphony. Council Member Ryan Romney provided an outline of the festivities that will include a cake cutting, the dedication of a 10-year plaque in the park and “a reminiscence of the steps Liberty Lake has taken as a city.”
Romney added that an extensive list of luminaries – including former representatives of the City Council, municipal staff, Spokane County commissioners and local legislators – would be invited to attend. There are also plans to create a time capsule that will include a collection of mementos and artifacts unique to the city.
“This is an opportunity to celebrate the past, learn from the past and look to the future,” said Mayor Pro-Tem David Crump, one of three original council members that remain on the governing board.
Steve Peterson, who served as Liberty Lake mayor from 2001 to 2007, said the efforts of Kramer, a former Washington secretary of state and his wife, Pat, as well as other residents like Mary Ellen Stein and Tom Specht were critical in providing the groundwork for the new city.
“People really worked together to make this happen,” Peterson said. “There was a real pioneer spirit to it.”
The same civic energy that went into pre-incorporation causes like the Friends of Pavillion Park and a citizen-based movement to build a network of trails in the late 1990’s carried over into the formation of the new city, Peterson said.
“The framework was there – people had the same vision for a clean, green, safe and welcoming community,” he said.
Peterson recalls the same collaborative approach being evident after the inaugural City Council was elected. Local business figures like Jim Frank of Greenstone and Bernard Daines stepped up to give the city a break on the first two sites of City Hall and the City Council worked to pass nearly 190 ordinances leading up to the official incorporation date.
“These people were really invested in the community,” Peterson said. “As far as the City Council went, we were galvanized. We had to cover a lot of ground. There was a lot of discussion, but no animosity. It was a united team.”
In other City Council news:
The city acknowledged the efforts of police Officer Taj Wilkerson, who testified in Olympia earlier this year on behalf of House Bill 1922, legislation requiring cattle trucks weighing over 40,000 pounds to stop at weigh stations. The bill was signed into law this May. Mayor Wendy Van Orman said the new regulations “will save our city as well as other jurisdictions thousands of dollars each year in maintenance fees.”
Community Development Director Doug Smith provided an update on the city’s new arboretum, indicating that the infrastructure for the site is now in place. Smith added that civic groups like the Liberty Lake Kiwanis and Rotary have discussed the possibility of donating to the arboretum.
Crump said the city has completed the interview process for a new finance director, though no announcement has been made yet. He added that the introduction of a new golf pro at the city-owned Trailhead at Liberty Lake Golf Course would be imminent. In other hiring news, Police Chief Brian Asmus said his department would bring on two new officers by Aug. 15.
City Council conducted the first reading of an ordinance that would establish an annual utility tax rebate program for the city’s senior and low-income or disabled and low-income residents. A second reading is scheduled for the next City Council meeting on Aug. 16.