Maple Valley Mayor Noel Gerken has announced he will run for election seeking a third term on the City Council.
“There’s a lot of work that’s not finished yet, in my opinion, at the city level,” Gerken said in a phone interview Monday. “The Legacy site, the Four Corners subarea plan… there’s a lot of planning going on that’s important.”
Gerken, 54, explained that long term planning both for the city’s transportation needs as well as to further its economic development goals are his primary issues of focus in his re-election campaign.
“It’s important for the city to plan for the future,” Gerken. “The planning is important for a couple of reasons: one is economic development. We need more businesses and more jobs, also more services.”
As the city works on finalizing the northwest quadrant of the Four Corners subarea plan, a document that will provide a blueprint for economic development in what is becoming a retail hub at the south end of Maple Valley, Gerken added that he will continue his work to improve the city’s roads.
When he last ran for election — he was unopposed — in 2007, Gerken said, he decided “to get more engaged with transit.” He has served on committees and worked to be Maple Valley’s voice at the regional level.
“It gets our name out there and what our needs are,” Gerken said. “The next term I want to really focus on Highway 169 and get funding for it… because it’s going to be a real choke point over the next 10 years as the Black Diamond developments come online. That’s going to be my self-imposed mission for the next few years.”
Gerken currently serves on five regional transportation boards or committees.
In addition to the Four Corners subarea plan, Gerken said, a similar plan for the north end of town is emerging at the staff level plus city staff will need to look at what the next step will be for King County’s 154 acre piece of property known as Summit Place or the Donut Hole.
In a statement announcing his intention to run, Gerken said, “we are beginning discussions with King County to re-evaluate what is best for the (Donut Hole) site, including possibly moving the needle from mostly residential to more living wage jobs.”
Gerken was elected mayor by the City Council in January 2010. Maple Valley City Council members select the mayor from among their ranks every two years.
He was appointed to the council in April 2003 then won his first term in November 2003.
The mayor works as an engineer for The Boeing Co. He has been married to Charlene for 29 years. They have two sons.
Gerken will face challenger Karen Crowe for Maple Valley City Council Position No. 5.