Construction prompts change to Central Park access

August 28, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 28, 2011

Motorists headed to Central Park in the Issaquah Highlands should prepare for changes Monday.

The road to access the park from Northeast Park Drive closes from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. as crews build a satellite storage yard for the municipal Parks & Recreation and Public Works Operations departments.

Motorists can instead access the park via 24th Avenue Northeast.

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Landscaping goats return to munch across highlands

July 5, 2011

The ruminants returned on June 24.

In a summertime tradition for Issaquah Highlands residents, a goat herd started chomping across open space in the Wisteria Park neighborhood. Onlookers can also catch a glimpse of the goats from Davis Loop.

Then, a few days later, the action is due to shift west, to open space tracts near South Pond, just east of Central Park. Plans call for another herd of landscaping goats to arrive July 6.

The goats, a cheaper and more eco-conscious option than traditional clearing, eat tall grasses and invasive plant species.

Issaquah Highlands Community Association leaders reminded residents and onlookers not to feed the goats.

The practice started in July 2009, as goats from Edwall and Vashon Island arrived to nibble Himalayan blackberry and Scotch broom. In June 2010, more than 100 goats chomped across the highlands landscape.

The goats also attracted the national spotlight. Comedian Stephen Colbert lampooned the goats as undocumented workers stealing jobs in a segment on “The Colbert Report” in October 2010.

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20 reasons to ♥ Issaquah

July 2, 2011

The spectacular landscape is a reason to love Issaquah. By Connor Lee

Discover 20 reasons to love Issaquah, from the highest Tiger Mountain peak to the Lake Sammamish shoreline, and much more in between. The community includes icons and traits not found anywhere else, all in a postcard-perfect setting. The unique qualities — Issa-qualities? — start at the city’s name and extend into every nook and neighborhood. (The lineup is not arranged in a particular order, because ranking the city’s pre-eminent qualities seems so unfair.)

Salmon Days

The annual salmon-centric celebration is stitched into the city’s fabric. Salmon Days serves as a last hurrah before autumn, a touchstone for old-timers and a magnet for tourists. The street fair consistently ranks among the top destinations in the Evergreen State and, for a time last year, as the best festival on earth — in the $250,000-to-$749,000 budget category, anyway.

Issaquah Alps

The majestic title for the forested peaks surrounding the city, the Issaquah Alps, is a catchall term for Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains. (Credit the late mountaineer and conservationist Harvey Manning for the sobriquet.) The setting is a playground for outdoors enthusiasts. Trails — some official and others less so — for hikers, bikers and equestrians crisscross the mountains, like haphazard tic-tac-toe patterns.

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Issaquah City Council sets goals for 2012

June 21, 2011

Less than a month after gathering to brainstorm ideas for the coming year, City Council members set ambitious goals for 2012, including possible solutions for cash-strapped Lake Sammamish State Park, a more citizen-friendly budgeting process and a commission to address economic vitality.

The council OK’d the list June 6, and sent Mayor Ava Frisinger priorities for the months ahead. The decision represents the initial step in the process to shape the 2012 municipal budget. The unanimous decision came after council members met for a rare Saturday meeting May 14 to outline goals.

“In my view, these are a balanced set of goals that cover just about every aspect of city government,” Councilman Fred Butler said during the June 6 meeting. “There’s something in there for everyone.”

The list calls for the city to join with the DownTown Issaquah Association and the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce to determine options for a structured parking study. Issues related to downtown parking — a headache during ArtWalk, Fenders on Front Street and other summertime events — emerged as the top priority at the retreat.

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Issaquah City Council sets ambitious goals for 2012

June 14, 2011

Top priorities include downtown parking, Economic Vitality Commission

NEW — 8 a.m. June 14, 2011

Less than a month after gathering to brainstorm ideas for the coming year, City Council members set ambitious goals for 2012, including possible solutions for cash-strapped Lake Sammamish State Park, a more citizen-friendly budgeting process and a commission to address economic vitality.

The council OK’d the list June 6, and sent Mayor Ava Frisinger priorities for the months ahead. The decision represents the initial step in the process to shape the 2012 municipal budget. The unanimous decision came after council members met for a rare Saturday meeting May 14 to outline goals.

“In my view, these are a balanced set of goals that cover just about every aspect of city government,” Councilman Fred Butler said during the June 6 meeting. “There’s something in there for everyone.”

The list calls for the city to join with the DownTown Issaquah Association and the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce to determine options for a structured parking study. Issues related to downtown parking — a headache during ArtWalk, Fenders on Front Street and other summertime events — emerged as the top priority at the retreat.

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Crews start construction on highlands’ College Drive

June 7, 2011

Construction started late last month on Northeast College Drive in the Issaquah Highlands.

Plans call for the road to snake for about a half-mile behind Grand Ridge Elementary School and link to the existing street grid at Central Park. The road is meant to serve as access to a Bellevue College campus planned for the highlands.

In addition, the road through The Highlands at Wynhaven apartment complex is due to be improved and turned into 15th Avenue Northeast. College Drive is planned to form a T-shaped intersection at 15th Avenue.

The road project is occurring at the same time as residential construction on nearby land. The project is ultimately meant to provide another east-to-west access point to Falls Drive Northeast.

In order to accommodate the project, a city maintenance yard is to be constructed immediately south of the Central Park Reservoir.

The south access path to the school from Central Park is due to close until fall. Parkgoers should also expect short-term closures along the park access road.

The road should be completed at about the start of the 2011-12 school year.

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Crews start construction on highlands’ College Drive

May 30, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. May 30, 2011

Construction has started on Northeast College Drive in the Issaquah Highlands.

Plans call for College Drive to snake for about a half-mile behind Grand Ridge Elementary School and link to the existing street grid at Central Park. The road is meant to serve as access to a Bellevue College campus planned for the highlands.

In addition, the road through The Highlands at Wynhaven apartment complex is due to be improved and turned into 15th Avenue Northeast. College Drive is planned to form a T-shaped intersection at 15th Avenue.

The road project is occurring at the same time as residential construction on nearby land. The project is ultimately meant to provide another east-to-west access point to Falls Drive Northeast.

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Major renovation for aging Julius Boehm Pool is a priority

May 17, 2011

The long-discussed plan to redo the outdated Julius Boehm Pool inched ahead May 14, as City Council members listed priorities for 2012 — a key step in determining how leaders decide to spend next year.

In addition to confronting increased maintenance costs as the pool ages, a 2009 city-commissioned study declared the facility as inadequate for the community.

“We’ve gone to tactical mode,” Council President John Traeger said. “We’ve got to fix the pool.”

The pool emerged as a major focus early in the session, as council members and department chiefs gathered in a map-lined Public Works Operations Building conference room. Other priorities included downtown parking, economic development and Lake Sammamish State Park.

The price tag to expand and upgrade the downtown Boehm Pool in a major renovation is estimated at $21 million. Other options could cost less.

The popular pool no longer meets demand for high school and club swim teams, recreational swimmers and children’s swimming lessons due to its age and other factors. Still, passing a municipal bond to salvage the facility might be a tough sell.

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College Drive construction starts soon in highlands

April 26, 2011

Construction should start in early May on a road to access the Bellevue College satellite campus planned for the Issaquah Highlands.

Crews plan to start staging equipment and clearing land for Northeast College Drive soon. City permits for the project need to be issued before roadwork can start.

Plans call for the road to snake for about a half-mile behind Grand Ridge Elementary School and link to the existing street grid at Central Park. In addition, the road through The Highlands at Wynhaven apartment complex is due to be improved and turned into 15th Avenue Northeast. College Drive is planned to form a T-shaped intersection at 15th Avenue.

The road should be completed at about the same time as the start of the 2011-12 school year.

Though the project is not far from the Grand Ridge Elementary campus, the road is not designed to alleviate congestion during busy mornings and afternoons at the school.

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County seeks proposals for youth sports facilities

April 26, 2011

Youth sports organizations can apply for King County grants to build or upgrade recreation facilities.

The county Parks and Recreation Division is accepting applications from qualified groups for Youth Sports Facilities Grants. Applicants must partner with a public agency, such as a school district or municipal parks department, to develop or renovate sports facilities.

The fund has helped organizers build or renovate hundreds of public sports amenities in neighborhoods throughout the county.

Past grant recipients in the Issaquah area include city-run Central Park in the Issaquah Highlands and county-run Duthie Hill Park in Sammamish.

“Thanks to robust partnerships with community groups, we are using our limited resources to bring new or improved recreational amenities for King County residents that otherwise wouldn’t be possible,” County Executive Dow Constantine said in a release.

The program provides matching grant funds of up to $75,000. Grant requests range from $5,000 to $75,000.

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