Photo by Eric Mathison
Chestine Edgar, left, Melessa Rogers, Janis Freudenthal, Toni Lysen and Brian Stapleton represented Neighbors of Seahurst Park at a Burien City Council reception honoring the 2014 Citizens of the Year.

Citizens of the Year honored by Burien council

By Eric Mathison

The Burien City Council held a reception April 21 honoring its Citizens of the Year and outgoing citizen advisory committee members.

Recognized as 2014 Citizens of the Year were Walk/Bike Burien (WABI) president Maureen Hoffmann, artist Betty Olson Vacca and the group, Neighbors of Seahurst Park.

Chestine Edgar, Melessa Rogers, Toni Lysen, Janis Freudenthal and Brain Stapleton represented the Seahurst Park group.

Hoffmann was a founding member of WABI, which hosts events and advocates for walking and biking activities.

Hoffmann began monthly Walk-n-Talk events, that she leads every first Sunday of the month—rain or shine without using city money or staff time.

She has also volunteered as downtown bike rack designer, Burien public art mapping project manager, Arts Commissioner, S.W. 153rd Banner Project designer and Vision of Burien Citizen Advisory Panel member.

Her children—Janis Kelly, Karen Rea, Diane Ryan and John Vacca, nominated Vacca.

Vacca, 85, has been a Highline resident her entire life. She met her late husband of 56 years, Tony J. Vacca while attending Highline High School.

They raised four children and were part owners of the Vacca Pumpkin Patch, tree farm and Sunnydale Market.

As a veteran Artists United member, she has helped to train many local artists and painted in many mediums, winning numerous local and northwest awards.

The Seahurst Park group has worked to preserve and protect Seahurst Park. Most notably, they have opposed the Emerald Pointe condo/apartments project for many years.

When Westmark Development Corp. applied for a clearing permit for 10 acres above the park’s Marine Technology Center and Environmental Science Center, NOSP members filed for a hearing on the adequacy of its Environmental Impact Statement.

In council business, economic development director Dan Trimble presented an amendment to the Town Square development agreement that would allow Parcel 6, the lot north of 6th Avenue Southwest next to the Burien Post Office, to have an interim use. Instead of being used for housing or retail space the parcel could be used for a parking lot or green space on a temporary basis, according to Trimble. The council will vote on the amendment at an upcoming meeting.

Lawmakers also decided to take more time to study the interim economic development strategic plan before final approval.

Kamuron Gurol attended his first Burien council meeting April 23 as Burien’s new city manager. He previously was Sammamish assistant city manger and community development director.

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