Issaquah receives assistance to plan for long-term growth

July 3, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

Issaquah is receiving technical assistance to plan for long-term growth, through a program at a nonprofit organization and a federal grant.

Forterra, the former Cascade Land Conservancy, announced the technical assistance for Issaquah and other Washington communities June 6.

The grant comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program — a nationwide program to boost communities’ economic and environmental health.

Issaquah officials intend to use the technical assistance from Forterra to work on the Central Issaquah Plan — a proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900. City leaders intend to increase density and the mix of uses in the area, make the area more pedestrian-friendly and preserve open space.

Forterra announced a plan to assist the city in fostering implementation by engaging area developers and other experts to demonstrate market viability of proposed changes in the area.

“We are thrilled to receive free technical assistance from Forterra, one of our long-term partners in finding smart growth solutions for Issaquah,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said. “This is perfect timing. While we have been actively engaging citizens, businesses and developers on a local level during our current Central Issaquah planning process, Forterra’s regional connections will help us inform, and receive input, from another important group: regional developers.”

Organizers said the technical assistance is tailored to the needs identified by each community. The process should consist of workshops, policy analysis, stakeholder engagement and policy recommendations.

The effort is meant to help communities attract growth, protect the environment, improve public health, facilitate job creation and economic opportunity, and improve overall quality of life.

Other recipients of technical assistance from Forterra include Federal Way, Kirkland, Tukwila, the Makah Tribe and the Quinault Indian Nation. The local governments demonstrated the strongest interest in and need for assistance in making areas more sustainable and a commitment from business, community and political leaders to implement solutions.

“Forterra is excited to work with a consortium of partners to lend our expertise to communities such as Issaquah,” Alison Van Gorp, Forterra communities policy director, said in a statement. “This opportunity advances Forterra’s goal to help communities here in Washington enhance their livability, quality of life, economic vibrancy and affordability.”

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