Langley shines in ‘State of the City ’

Mayor credits dedicated work of ‘many talented and giving people’

Langley Mayor Tim Callison credited strong partnerships, citizen volunteers and the dedicated work of the city council and city staff for a long list of accomplishments achieved during the past 18 months.

During a recent city council meeting, Callison delivered an informal “State of the City” presentation. He reviewed public works improvements, new arts projects, indications of increased tourism and many other praiseworthy positive civic signs accomplished since the beginning of 2017.

“I thought the citizens might enjoy seeing what we have achieved by working together,” he said.

Record-breaking sales and use tax and real estate excise taxes topped his list.

Other signs of increased visitation to the Village by the Sea included record attendance at parades, festivals and events, including Mystery Weekend, Deck the Doors/Holiday Shopping Raffle, Welcome the Whales and DjangoFest.

The recent Langley Street Dance, back for its third year, also packed streets and sidewalks with residents and visitors eating, drinking and dancing to live music.

The installation of three telescopes placed in Boy and Dog and Hladjey Park proved to be very popular with children, Callison said.

He also noted that South Whidbey Harbor is full with visiting boats most weekends during the summer and the remodeled Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center is a welcome improvement and attracting record visitation.

New sidewalks and rain gardens along upper First Street were one of numerous physical enhancements mentioned.

“I remain grateful to serve as your mayor and to have the opportunity to roll up my sleeves and work side by side with so many talented and giving people,” Callison said.

Improvements to Langley Park have led to more families enjoying the cool spot and sitting a spell on the big Adirondack chairs, Callison observed.

Langley and Island County continue to work on projects together, he said.

Callison was elected chairman of the Council of Government and vice chairman of the Island Regional Transporation Planning Organization.

Callison also cited the opening of 10 new businesses in Langley and hosting a gathering of the International Travel Writers as positive economic and tourism industry indications.

“And they even started working on the Doghouse,” Callison said, referring to the long awaited renovation of the historic Doghouse Tavern.

An update and review of police force policy and movement toward a 21st century policing model were also cited as positive steps.

Callison’s most contentious weeks as mayor came earlier this summer when the behavior of former police chief David Marks came under intense scrutiny.

Marks was placed on administrative leave with pay after being investigated for using excessive force on a mentally ill man during an arrest last November.

That allegation led to many residents coming forward with their own stories, accusing Marks of alleged bullying and unprofessional conduct.

As a civil service employee, Marks is entitled to a civil service hearing and review, which is still on-going, Callison said in an interview.

“The attorneys are in discussion about the way forward for David Marks and the City,” Callison said. “No other decisions or actions have been taken.”

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