Growth, community inclusion and the environment top the list of issues that new Kirkland City Councilmember Kelli Curtis plans to focus on during her term.
On Feb. 19, Curtis was appointed to fill the council vacancy left by former Mayor Amy Walen, who announced she’d be resigning to dedicate her time to serving in her newly elected role in the Washington State House of Representatives. Curtis was officially sworn in on March 5.
Curtis told the Reporter that she was “shocked, thrilled and honored” to have been selected from among the 27 people who applied for the council position.
Curtis, who has lived in Kirkland for 25 years, said it is “such a beautiful jewel of a city,” with parks, amenities and a “wonderful engaged community.” She’s had a lot of experience on various city boards and commissions, including the Houghton Community Council and the Park Board. She is also a dialogue facilitator for Kirkland Talks.
“It’s exciting to be a part of community that does care so much and that is going through a fair amount of growth,” she said.
Curtis said one of her priorities is “thoughtful growth,” and that she wants to involve the community in discussions about where and how Kirkland will add density. She also would like the city to be proactive in addressing the need for affordable housing for low- and middle-income families.
She had served on the city’s housing strategy advisory committee, and wants to continue to work on housing diversity, while also addressing the impacts of integrating new developments, including traffic and transition zones between single- and multi-family homes.
She also wants to make sure that Kirkland is welcoming to all, from seniors and transplants to children and people with disabilities and more. The council should work on completing the parks projects already in development, Curtis said, including Totem Lake Park, the Juanita Beach Park bathhouse and 132nd Square Park, while continuing to expand the system and make sure community spaces work for everyone.
“Our infrastructure needs to grow as our density grows,” she said. “We have a wonderful parks system — mean, we’re famous for [it] — and we need to continue to maintain that and preserve our open space and our environmental assets as we become more dense.”
Keeping Kirkland an inclusive community was one of the focal points of her application and interview, she said.
“I love having conversations about those issues,” she said.
Curtis said it’s also important to engage the city’s youth and spent last summer registering young people to vote.
“The work that I’m doing is building a future for them,” she said.
Curtis has two children of her own, who both grew up in Kirkland and worked for the city as lifeguards and swim instructors, she said. In her spare time, she fosters puppies and enjoys gardening and donating extra food she grows to Hopelink.
Curtis will serve on the council until the November 2019 election results are certified. She has the option to file in May to run as a candidate in that election.
See www.kirklandwa.gov for more.