News Article Viewer, Posted: October 5, 2022

Mayor’s Message

Washington: A Lasting Impact

After 24 years of service as Washington City Public Works Director, Mike Shaw has retired. Taking a look back over the time he served and where we are today shows how impactful his service has been.

Mike started here in 1998 when our population was around 6,000 residents, a time when Washington Fields Road was two single lanes bordered by open ditches on either side, and seemed to be made up more of potholes than asphalt. It was a time when our public streets, storm drainage, sewer, and water infrastructure needed drastic improvements. It was a time when Mike was doing much of the hands-on labor himself.

With vision, resiliency, and often creativity, he helped set the course for the planning, funding, and completion or improvement of all city streets built since then. At last count, Public Works maintains close to 200 miles of roadway, including 13 traffic signals and thousands of street signs. Mike has masterfully completed several major road projects including Merrill Road, Washington Dam Road, Washington Parkway, and the Main Street reconstruction to name a few.

He’s built a skilled and committed team and interacted with residents, developers, and public officials at all levels with unmatched professionalism. Through much foresight he established an annual pavement maintenance budget of over a million dollars so that appropriate surface treatments are applied to all city streets on a 7 year rolling cycle. Potholes are now rare.

While streets are easy to see, many of the most critical public services are built into or underneath them. Currently thousands of storm water inlets and hundreds of outlets are built into city streets, connected via miles of underground pipes of various sizes. A vast sewer system network of mainline runs underneath city streets, and thousands of manholes dot our roads allowing for constant maintenance of this system. Mike has been involved in the planning, building, and maintenance of all of this infrastructure.

Water systems are among the most impressive parts of Mike’s legacy. In partnership with the Washington County Water Conservancy District, treatment and distribution provides water to over 13,000 active connections through hundreds of miles of mainline. This vital resource is produced in part through 10 wells and stored in 8 tanks ranging from 1 million to 2.3 million gallons. He’s also been instrumental in the initial infrastructure for a secondary water system to conserve and extend our culinary water supply.

Mike has trained up leaders in the Public Works Department who oversee existing infrastructure, as well as all new development, and manage dozens of projects at a time. A state of the art GIS division maps subdivisions and infrastructure. His contributions are varied and too numerous to be listed here. His work ethic and leadership has created a culture of public service that will carry on and be remembered.

Today our population exceeds 30,000. While growth continues to chase us, we remain committed to our heritage, our small town charm, and to providing municipal services at a high level of quality and efficiency. Mike and those working with him through the years have built the foundation of infrastructure upon which Washington City stands today, and it’s a foundation that will serve us well into the future.

Please join me in expressing sincere gratitude to Mike Shaw for the lasting impact he has made.

Washington City welcomes Blake Fonnesbeck, who has been hired as the new Public Works Director. He comes to us highly recommended, with experience as a Public Works Director at Brigham City and Park City. We’re confident in his ability to do the job!

-Kress Staheli


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