Kent Mayor Dana Ralph, far left, joins Barbara Smith, Kent Downtown Partnership executive director, sixth from the left, and other KDP members at a recent City Council meeting. The KDP was designated as a recognized Neighborhood Council. COURTESY PHOTO, KDP

Kent Mayor Dana Ralph, far left, joins Barbara Smith, Kent Downtown Partnership executive director, sixth from the left, and other KDP members at a recent City Council meeting. The KDP was designated as a recognized Neighborhood Council. COURTESY PHOTO, KDP

Kent Downtown Partnership recognized as a Neighborhood Council

City program to enhance organization’s many efforts

Reporter staff

Kent Downtown Partnership has been recognized as a Kent’s Neighborhood Council, a city program that promotes resident involvement by building partnerships between the city and its residents.

Recognized neighborhood councils are organized groups that work to improve communication and livability in neighborhoods by providing opportunities for residents to participate in the civic process. Program benefits include begin eligible to apply for matching grants for neighborhood improvement projects; receiving technical assistance, workshops and information about neighborhood events; and gaining publicity for neighborhood events on Kent TV21, the city’s cable access station,

Barbara Smith, KDP’s executive director, said the decision to join the association will help the downtown organization’s spread its message and inform followers of events, activities and services.

“We can reach more people who may have time and desire to help and become a volunteer for one of our many committees,” Smith said. “We want to keep them informed of the changes going on in downtown … things like the Sound Transit garage project; Quiet Zone progress; Meet Me on Meeker; and the lighting project at the 167 overpass on Meeker Street.

“It also could qualify us for signage in downtown to let people know they are in the historic neighborhood of downtown Kent.”

KDP’s goal is not only to revitalize downtown but to preserve it and its history.

“We want to reach more people to tell our story. We are so much more than just our name, Kent Downtown Partnership,” Smith said. “We want credit for bringing the penguins into downtown. We want people to know we pay for the hanging baskets. We are the ones who paid for the new planters and the black benches and are now paying for the new trash containers in Town Square Plaza. We are responsible for lighting up the roof lines of buildings in downtown and providing façade improvement grants for businesses.

“We are the conduit to the city so they have a voice.”

To learn more, contact Smith at 253-813-6976, or barbaras@kentdowntown.org, or visit downtownkentwa.com.

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