Let’s brainstorm ideas for our community! Here are some for starters:
Provide transparency in government. Review land use ordinances to make sure citizens are being heard. Even with some increased density, we can make sure city development improves our community with attractive design standards and connectivity to neighborhoods.
Bring the issues of climate change and the danger of environmental degradation to the forefront. Send out educational notices in city bills, such as awareness of storm water runoff from our homes.
Create an environmental advisory committee. Hire an expert environmentalist to improve results across all departments. Whether it is concern over the health of the forest, how to deal with deer population, noxious weeds, climate emergency preparedness or protecting the marine habitat, we need expertise on staff.
Find alternatives to synthetic chemicals and pesticides used throughout the city, especially Roundup. Study and possibly end the use of fluoride in drinking water.
Revive the Street Tree Committee and add more citizen involvement. Expand the scope to include sustainable landscaping and increased planting of trees.
Continually address city budget issues. Reward departments for staying below budget without penalizing them for future requests. Focus on needed infrastructure maintenance and improvement.
Rebuild the Anacortes Land Trust that was active in the early 2000s so that we can work to provide true affordable housing.
Put solar panels on all city buildings. Seek out renewable energy businesses that could locate to our industrially-zoned areas.
Provide incentives or requirements for new housing to be carbon neutral, forgoing any new fossil fuel heating installations and promoting heat pump systems. Provide incentives for building smaller houses.
Start a transportation-wise program. Get grant funding to award people for riding bikes, buses and walking to their destinations. Make better signage for bicycle and pedestrian corridors, with more planting strips, benches and art. Work with neighborhoods to consider traffic calming strategies such as narrowing some roads, adding traffic circles or speed bumps.
Create a robust Anacortes Volunteer Program, especially with Parks maintenance in mind. Implement an adopt-the-park program. Expand and promote community garden programs.
Facilitate neighborhood councils.
Increase awareness of social issues with programs at the Anacortes Library. As a predominately white town, we can do more to be inclusive, to have discussions, to have special events that promote diversity. Ensure staff are receiving training on diversity.
Host a literary arts fair, similar to the Fine Arts Festival, making sure to include writers from many different backgrounds. Hold connected events at local book stores, the library, Brodniak Hall and other community locales.
Celebrate our youth throughout the year. Have them speak to city council on a regular basis on issues that are important to them.
Expand offerings at the Senior Center. Many seniors are still working so let’s have evening programs. Recruit volunteers to help cover open hours. Provide multi-age events.
These ideas are important but require the will and daring of all of us citizens. Let’s get going!