City finances, jobs, and the future vision for downtown Redmond were three key themes of Mayor John Marchione's annual state of the city address before members of the at on Wednesday.
Marchione began his presentation by discussing how the city plans to continue to build downtown Redmond and the Overlake areas into lively, economically viable urban centers with a "vibrant business community."
"People want restaurants and shops, but they also want jobs," he said.
The mayor based many of his comments on a 2011 resident survey that asked for feedback on the city's performance in several areas. Marchione said nine out of 10 residents evaluated the quality of life in Redmond as "above average" or "excellent."
Participants also responded favorably when asked how the city has been responding to and planning for growth, Marchione said.
"The plans for growth resonate with the citizens," he said. "They like the direction the city is going."
Marchione also spoke about the city's finances, saying the city will continue to have a balanced budget for at least the next six years. The number of businesses and jobs in the city has held steady in recent years, he said, and the amount of new development is beginning to pick back up—although the level of development in Redmond is currently equal to where it was in 1996.
"We're seeing it come back, but ever so slightly," Marchione said.
Audience members asked the mayor about the city's plans for a downtown park and converting Redmond Way and Cleveland Street back to two-way streets. Marchione explained that both of these projects were still a few years away but definitely still in the works.
One person also asked about the —which has been a source of controversy because of the developer's plans to remove more than 1,000 trees from the property. Marchione said he believes redeveloping the property into a high-density, mixed-use area is the better environmental choice, despite the loss of the trees.