Tenino Mayor Gives State of City Address Touting Improvements to Parks, Facilities and Local Economy

Wayne Fournier Says Tenino’s Influence Has Affected the World Over


Tenino Mayor Wayne Fournier gave a “State of the City” address last week, touting many of the improvements Tenino is making to its parks, facilities, economy, housing and influence.

While Tenino is installing a new playground at Tenino City Park for all ages and ability levels, renovating the Quarry House to add a commercial kitchen and renovating the Tenino Depot Museum complete with the now complete restoration of a 1923 caboose, Fournier announced that the upcoming renovations of the quarry pool will cause the attraction to be closed for the 2022 season.

“The Tenino Quarry Pool — no it will not be open in 2022,” Fournier said. “We have approximately $225,000 in the bank to complete what we’re calling phase one of the renovations of the quarry pool.”

In a Facebook post, Fournier elaborated further on the closure, saying, “We are doing renovations and they are held up by the state department of health who is reviewing the plans and will issue the construction permit.”

During the address, he said, “We must improve the use of the water, the accessibility issues, the safety issues and the general aesthetic” before Tenino opens the facility again.

Phase one of the project will see an updated filtration process on the kiddie pool and an improvement that will increase the water efficiency of the pool so that when the kiddie pool is drained for new water, the inland lake portion of the facility will not also need to be drained, which is the case now.

“We want to make it more efficient with its use of water,” Fournier previously told The Chronicle. “In years past, the way it had to be operated involved the flushing out of about 3 million gallons of water a month, and that’s horribly inefficient.”

Phase one of the renovation will cut down on the size of the pool, making it shallower in places. The city will also add a large deck out in the water for parents to lounge on. And the infrastructure needed for some planned spray toys to be added to the pool.

Right now, to ensure that construction stays mobilized once it begins, Tenino is applying for about $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to complete phase two, which would include spray park equipment and floating docks, among other things.

On the subject of the 1923 caboose that the city purchased in 2020 and has subsequently had restored, Fournier said, “We now have a showpiece that is world-class and celebrates the region’s history that’s a train stop alongside our depot museum.”

The new playground at Tenino City Park will include a state-of-the-art pump track, along with several other improvements to the area.

“With the planned improvements, we will be the premier trailhead for the Thurston County trail system,” Fournier said, adding that the effort will utilize regional partners such as Thurston County.

On the subject of improvements to facilities, Fournier said the restoration of Tenino City Hall, which was completed this year, will ensure that many more generations will enjoy “Thurston County’s only historic city hall.”

He also noted that the Tenino Wastewater Treatment Plant is treating waste more effectively than it ever has and could eventually house a composting process that could turn biosolids into a type of fertilizer to be used locally and beyond. The city’s current contracts with septage companies to offload their waste into the facility’s biosolids lagoon have netted over $200,000 in just a matter of months.

In the realm of the economy, the Tenino Agriculture & Innovation Park plans are moving forward, with new developments to come to fruition this summer, Fournier said. There are currently some private investors interested in the project.

“The primary goal of this facility is to support the ag economy regionally through creating infrastructure, training and support for the ag industry and local producers,” Fournier said. “The site will include retail space for value-added and locally made ag products, as well as space for commercial processing and research and development. … Expect this to happen.”

On a high note, Fournier announced that sales tax has more than doubled in the last two years, and noted that the plans for the T9O Ranch and Equestrian Center that’s under development will make the facility “the largest professional sports facility between here and Cheney.”

He wanted local business owners and chamber members to ask themselves how their services will meet the needs of the projected 3,000 to 4,000 guests that could be coming to the sporting complex on a given weekend.

Street and police department initiatives are moving forward, Fournier said, with the upcoming reconstruction of River Street and the hiring of Robert Auderer as Tenino police chief.

As for housing, Fournier referred to the statewide housing crisis, saying that he directed city planners to look at zoning opportunities to include more multi-family developments, which are currently lacking in the city.

He said the 22 to 35 age demographic is largely missing in Tenino, and there are not many opportunities for low-to-moderate-income families to move into town.

That said, Fournier did mention that property values in Tenino have improved.

“Several once-vacant properties have been renovated and vacant lots are being developed,” Fournier said. “We believe that the use of vacant lots, the use of vacant properties is good for everybody.”

In the end, Fournier put out a call for citizens of Tenino to work together to ensure they are building a better future for the city and its children.

Part of that effort has been expanding Tenino’s influence regionally through strategic relationships and partnerships, he said.

“We need to keep this up,” Fournier said. “We need to still be out there hustling for Tenino.”

Fournier also didn’t shy away from touting the city government’s prestige, saying it has “been a stable and effective group” for nearly seven years.

“We have weathered difficulties large and small, and we showed patience and grace while doing so, I think — I’m biased, but I think it’s true,” Fournier said. “Our innovative ideas, steady leadership and bold actions have been held up as examples to the entire world. It’s hard to believe, but that is absolutely fact, and it’s led to our policies literally being memorialized in the Smithsonian.”

The Smithsonian last year announced plans to enshrine the town’s pandemic-era wooden scrip, the followup to the town’s depression-era wooden currency.