May 26, 2020 – Pool Construction and Swim Season Update:
Hello Fircrest Residents,
I hope you are all staying safe and healthy during the current pandemic. As we approach the time of year when the City would usually be getting ready to open the pool, I want to provide an update on the pool construction and how it will affect the 2020 swim season.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the new pool was on track to open in mid- to late June. But the crisis forced all construction work to shut down for a while, and when it resumed it did so under new health guidelines designed to protect the construction workers. That means the work is moving slower because fewer workers can be inside the new pool house during construction.
Kassel and Associates, the builder, is being innovative as it navigates the new worksite regulations. As a result, we are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to open the pool in August for a brief swim season.
That timeframe depends on various things falling into place. First, pool construction has to get completed, and while the builder is doing great things, they have to deal with suppliers and vendors that are coping with the effects of the pandemic as well. Once the builder turns the pool over to the City, we will need to equip and furnish it, get trained on the new pool systems, and hire and train staff in order to open to the public. The timeframe also depends on the Governor’s reopening strategy. Under current guidelines, we cannot open the pool until Phase 3 of the Governor’s strategy, and Phase 3 only permits opening at less than 50% capacity.
The City remains hopeful that we will be able to have a grand opening for the new pool and have a shortened swim season. As we move through the summer, we will continue to post updates to the City website and Facebook, as well as on City buildings.
Stay safe and healthy!
Scott Pingel, City Manager
May 26, 2020 – Community Event Cancellations
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions and guidelines set out by the Governor’s Safe Start plan, the City of Fircrest has made the difficult decision to cancel a couple of upcoming events. This currently includes the Strawberry Feed and Band Concert (June 28th) and the Fircrest Picnic and Rod Run (July 5th). For more information please visit: https://www.cityoffircrest.net/community-event-cancellations/
April 27, 2020 – Low Risk Construction Resumes
As of Tuesday, April 28, 2020, The City of Fircrest will be issuing permits and conducting inspections for construction projects that are deemed essential or low-risk construction as outlined in the Governor’s addendum to Proclamation 20-25. Please ensure the Phase 1 Construction Restart COVID-19 Job Site Requirements are met prior to beginning work or calling for an inspection. Please email us at email@example.com if you have any questions or call 253-238-4175 to schedule an inspection.
April 24, 2020 – Pierce County Council Expands Loan Program to Include Businesses Located Anywhere in Pierce County with 20 or Fewer Employees
Click Here to Apply for a Pierce County COVID-19 Emergency Small Business Relief Loan
The Pierce County Council expanded the COVID-19 Emergency Small Business Relief Loan Program on April 21, 2020 to keep all businesses located in Pierce County in operation and protect jobs threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to increasing the funding available, the program eligibility has also been expanded to include employers with up to 20 employees for businesses located anywhere in Pierce County, including incorporated cities. Loan amounts of $1,000 per employee will be awarded up to $20,000. Loans will be offered to qualified applicants at no interest and no payments for 12 months.
Companies who have already received funding under this program are not eligible to re-apply.
Businesses applying for loans under this program must:
- Be a business physically located anywhere in Pierce County including incorporated cities
- Have 20 or fewer employees (including business owner)
- Be in operation for one or more years (businesses that have had a change in ownership in the past 12 months may be eligible)
- Demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in revenues attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic
Applications will be accepted until funds are exhausted.
Apply online at www.piercecountywa.gov/reliefloan or for more information contact the
Pierce County Economic Development Department at (253) 798-6150 or PCSBRLoan@piercecountywa.gov.
April 23, 2020 – U.P. Refuse Recycling Center is now open
A message from University Place Refuse:
Our office is still closed to the public. We can handle just about everything over the phone, though, at 253-564-3212.
GOOD NEWS: At 8am today, WE ARE OPENING OUR RECYCLING CENTER
It will look a little different than before. We will be observing social distancing and will only have 2 vehicles at a time at the recycling center. When you drive through the gate, PLEASE stay to the RIGHT.
Thank you for your patience through all of this! Remember to stay safe and healthy, no matter what task you’re tackling!
EDIT: We are NO LONGER ACCEPTING STYROFOAM at our recycling center. We have nowhere to recycle it anymore. Please hang onto that until the Tacoma recycling center by Home Depot opens back up. They can accept it there.
April 22, 2020 – Pierce Conservation District will Resume Limited Restoration Activities at Whittier Park
The Pierce Conservation District has managed to secure permissions to perform essential fieldwork at Whittier Park starting April 22, under the following conditions:
- Work solo or physically distanced at all times, at least 6 feet apart, with no more than 5 staff or volunteers at a site location at a time
- Wear gloves and a face mask or face covering when outside of a work vehicle or Conservation District office
- Have no more than one team member in a work vehicle at a time
- Wipe down all tools, equipment and surfaces touched with disinfectant wipes
- Not be outside of my home if I have any COVID-19 symptoms, or have had contact with individuals with symptoms
- Keep Conservation District letter validating your employment and essential work status on you at all times
April 7, 2020 – Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant Program
Announced today, Governor Inslee has created a Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant program using a portion of the state’s Strategic Reserve Fund (SRF). A limited number of grants (up to $10,000) are available to small businesses with up to 10 employees.
To apply please visit: http://startup.choosewashingtonstate.com/links/crisis/covid-19-resources/ This link can also be accessed from the home page at www.coronavirus.wa.gov
April 2, 2020 – Proclamation by the Governor 20-28
Open Public Meetings Act- To comply with the Governor’s orders, our City Council meetings will be physically closed to the public. We will be posting call-in information to our website for the public to listen via Zoom. If you would like to make a public comment, you may e-mail the City Clerk your comment and it will be read into the record. To read the Proclamation in its entirety, click here.
Public Records Act- This proclamation also temporarily suspends the PRA’s requirements for agencies to respond to PRA requests for public records within five business days from receipt, and to maintain business hours for public inspection and copying of records for a minimum of 30 hours per week. It is effective from March 24, 2020 until midnight, April 23, 2020, unless extended beyond that date. Please read the proclamation for details and to see the list of citations to the specific OPMA and PRA statutes or portions of statutes that are temporarily suspended.
- While the proclamation is in effect, we will do our best to provide requestors an initial response within five business days
March 25, 2020 – Construction – Due to the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, all inspections will be suspended. Please see the Construction Guidance Memo for more information.
Passports – Due to the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, we will not be accepting passport applications at this time. If you have a travel emergency, please visit the travel.state.gov website.
March 20, 2020 – Tot Lot and Playground closure – The Tot Lot and the playground at Fircrest Park until further notice due to concerns about overcrowding.
“We do not make this decision lightly. However, this is a public health emergency, and the governor has made very difficult decisions to close schools, bars, restaurants and other places where people gather in order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and prevent the medical system from being overrun. The crowding at both playgrounds increases the risk to the entire community, so we feel we have no choice but to close them for now.
Many of us have young children, too, so we know how hard this COVID-19 situation is on home life. While we want you to enjoy the outdoors, we strongly urge everyone to adhere to the guidance from public health agencies to maintain social distancing. Many of your neighbors fall into the risk categories, and they are worried. If we can all work together and keep our distance, this should pass in time.”
March 20, 2020 – A message from Dr. Mari Leavitt – WA State House Representative | 28th Legislative District
I am reaching out with some information that I hope you will share within your communities to help everyone stay up to date. I have heard many concerns particularly around kids, families, workers, and small businesses.
- School meal programs are now in place in all the school districts in the 28th at several sites. In addition, child care options are being offered for our first responders and emergency health care workers who need to remain at work to take care of us. Folks are encouraged to check their school district website for site specific information.
- Workers can apply for unemployment assistance through ESD when they are temporarily laid off, this is one way that small businesses can save on labor costs but make sure their workers still have income and can promise to keep their jobs for the future. The one week wait requirement has also temporarily been waived to get workers the assistance they desperately need. There is a webpage specific to COVID-19 impacted folks: https://esd.wa.gov/newsroom/covid-19
- The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved funding for Economic Injury Disaster Loans for impacted businesses. These loans will be for up to $2 million. You can apply online here. Any questions about that or the application process can be directed to 1-800-659-2955 or DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.
- The Department of Commerce has made grants available to small businesses across the state. There is currently $5 million of state money available to supplement the dollars that will come in from the federal government.
- The Washington Small Business Development Center (WSBDC) is putting on webinars on business resiliency every day this week. Here is more information: https://wsbdc.org/protect-your-business/business-resiliency/
- Depending on the utility service area, both Tacoma Public Utilities and Puget Sound Energy have plans in place for those who need help or more time with paying their utility bills.
- The Department of Revenue (DOR) has extended tax relief for 30 days. The measures set forth yesterday are aimed at helping businesses in our state stay afloat during this uncertain time. More information is available here: https://dor.wa.gov/about/business-relief-during-covid-19-pandemic
To keep up with all the updates in this rapidly changing environment, the state has also developed a website to house all the various information. Please check coronavirus.wa.gov for further updates. Again, I encourage you to share this information with your friends and neighbors.
This site breaks up info depending on which population is seeking the information (individual, employer, etc.): https://housedemocrats.wa.gov/covid-19-resources-for-individuals-workers-and-employers/
March 17, 2020
Due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns and the recommendations from the White House to stay home as much as possible and avoid gatherings of 10 or more people, all City buildings will be closed to the public beginning at 2:00 p.m. today, March 17, 2020 until further notice. City staff will be available to take calls. We will continue to process payments. The public is encouraged to use our drop boxes and online options for paying bills. Passport services and any licensing or permitting needs will be by appointment only. The numbers to reach each City building/department are as follows:
- City Hall: 253-564-8901
- Court: 253-564-8922 Court/Ticket Specific Information
- Police Department: 253-565-1198
- Public Works: 253-564-8900
- Community Center: 253-564-8177
March 12, 2020
Effective March 12, 2020, the city is closing the Fircrest Community Center gym and all meeting rooms through April 26th. This closure is part of a broader strategic effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 following Governor Jay Inslee’s announcement that all public and private K-12 schools in King, Pierce, and Snohomish, will close for the next six weeks and that large gatherings of 250 or more people are prohibited. This was a very difficult decision to have to make, as we would love to be a location for recreation and activities, but our worry is that we could be creating the exact same risk public health officials are trying to prevent by closing the schools. Our priority remains keeping our community safe and well-informed while doing what we can to help minimize potential spread of the coronavirus.
During this time frame, the Community Center office will be open during business hours M-F, 8 am to 5 pm and Saturday 10 am to 5pm, and the restrooms and water fountains will remain open during these times for parks users. Our parks and park facilities will remain open.
March 11, 2020 — A coronavirus update from Mayor Hunter T. George:
Governor Jay Inslee issued Proclamation 20-07 on March 10 in an effort to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The governor’s order prohibits large gatherings over 250 people, and encourages smaller gatherings to practice social distancing.
These are extraordinary measures, and they are necessary. Experts say the number of people infected is on track to double every 5-7 days, and that represents an extraordinary risk to the community. Just one of the major risks is that our health care systems will be overloaded by a surge of ill people. We must do our part to make sure that doesn’t happen.
City of Fircrest officials are following guidance from public health experts at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. We are also in contact with regional emergency managers and other partners.
Public health authorities recommend that people age 60 and older, people with underlying health conditions, and pregnant women take extra precautions to distance themselves from other people.
As a result of the Governor’s order and the recommendations of federal, state and local public health authorities, the City of Fircrest has taken a number of steps so far. I’ve listed those below.
- All Senior Programs held at the Fircrest Community Center are cancelled through March 31, 2020. This includes but is not limited to Active Adult Trips, Senior Footcare, Drop-In Senior Card Groups, and other classes or programs that are specific to the senior population.
- Our annual Fish N Fun event scheduled for March 21 is cancelled.
- The Annual Easter Egg Hunt is on the horizon (April 11) and we will continue to evaluate and receive updates as we get closer to the event.
- We are closely monitoring private rentals within the Community Center and will continue to monitor guidelines from public health authorities and the Governor’s directives. Any private rental that anticipates more than 250 people will be canceled and receive a full refund. Any renters that wish to cancel events on their own will receive a full refund.
- We have about 50 kids participating in our Pee Wee Soccer Program. We will be providing guidance to coaches on hygiene and social distancing and will continue to monitor guidelines from public health authorities.
- Our men’s basketball league begins in two weeks. We will provide guidance to the coaches on hygiene and social distancing and continue to monitor guidelines from public health authorities.
- The Community Center will remain open to the general public, although we are closely monitoring numbers throughout the day.
- We are contacting affected user groups, programs, and classes, and will also be placing notices throughout the center.
- Implemented enhanced cleaning of our public spaces at the Community Center and City Hall.
This is just the beginning. Governor Inslee has directed school superintendents in all districts in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties to prepare for the likelihood of full closures. Obviously, that would have a profound impact on the community. State and local leaders are faced with extremely difficult challenges of balancing health and safety with educational and economic activities, and I appreciate the research and compassion being applied to those hard decisions.
We’re all in this together. There are a lot of people in vulnerable populations who are losing access to services during this public health crisis. Food banks, housing, health care — please consider how your generosity can help others.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is providing up-to-date information on its website. There is specific guidance for individuals as well as businesses. Please check it out at www.TPCHD.org/coronavirus.
The City of Fircrest will continue to work closely with its local and state partners in monitoring the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). All public buildings are open for normal business. The City will continue to monitor COVID-19, and will provide updates on our website that may be helpful to our community.
For more information on COVID-19, check out the following links:
Human Coronaviruses, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department – https://www.tpchd.org/healthy-people/human-coronavirus
2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19) Washington State Department of Health – https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus