DownTown Issaquah Association director resigns

December 7, 2011

NEW — 3:30 p.m. Dec. 7, 2011

The leader of the DownTown Issaquah Association — the second person to hold the post since board members replaced the longtime executive director in February — resigned Tuesday, after only a few months on the job.

“I have not been empowered by the DIA Board to accomplish the goals they set for themselves or for me,” Executive Director Annique Bennett said in a message emailed to association board members Tuesday afternoon. “I have enjoyed working with each of you and wish you the best of luck on your community wine events and marketing.”

The announcement came a day before a major event on the DownTown Issaquah Association calendar, a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the historic Hailstone Feed Store.

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City, DownTown Issaquah Association need citizens for parking study

November 15, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 15, 2011

The city and the DownTown Issaquah Association volunteers should start fanning out across downtown in the days ahead to determine if the historic district needs more parking.

Municipal officials and representatives from the merchants group, partnered to conduct a downtown parking study to understand the demand for existing public and private parking stalls.

The effort is meant to update a 1998 downtown parking study. The city should release results from the latest effort early next year.

Throughout the study, volunteers plan to check downtown stalls’ occupancy. The effort runs at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. If weather causes delays, organizers plan to reschedule the survey until later in November.

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Fenders on Front Street car show / June 19, 2011

June 21, 2011

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Issaquah events open Mountains to Sound Greenway Summer

June 17, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. June 17, 2011

Celebrate the season as the Mountains to Sound Greenway Summer launches Saturday and Sunday.

The events start Saturday as the Issaquah Alps Trails Club leads the Olallie Lake hike. Join hike leader Mary Nolan on a moderately difficult, five- to six-mile hike with 1,200 feet gain in elevation to Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area lakes — Talapus and Olallie. Participants need a Northwest Forest Pass. The hike is open to all ages; no reservation is required. Join the hike at the Issaquah Trails House, 110 S.E. Bush St., at 9 a.m. Saturday. Call Nolan at 837-1535.

Learn about the Puget Sound watershed and salmon at the Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery open house and tours Saturday. Explore the life of a salmon through hands-on exhibits, tours and a family-oriented open house featuring activities for all age group. Join FISH docents for 30-minute hatchery tours at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The hatchery, 125 W. Sunset Way, is open 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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Expect more than cars to cruise in to Fenders on Front Street

June 14, 2011

Expect classic cars aplenty as Fenders on Front Street rolls into Issaquah for Father's Day. File

Dick Baker drove Harley motorcycles for 25 years until he switched to classic cars.

“My wife has always called me ‘motorman,’ because if it has a motor, I’m probably going to like it,” said Baker, of Issaquah. “I was born that way.”

One of his prize cars, a 1932 Ford Roadster, will be on display for all to see at the sixth annual Fenders on Front Street Car Show and Cruise this Father’s Day, June 19.

Car registration is free, as is admittance to the show.

“If anyone has a nice car or a fast car or an interesting car, we’re going to open it to anybody coming down and showing it,” Fenders on Front Street co-chairman George Naumann said.

Mountains to Sound Greenway and the DownTown Issaquah Association are organizing the event.

The show is somewhat weather dependent. Last year, pouring rain kept some car owners home, and crowds saw about 200 cars at the show. In sunny 2009, more than 600 cars lined up on Front Street North.

“If the weather’s good, they all show up,” Baker said.
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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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DownTown Issaquah Association charts new course

April 26, 2011

The decision to oust the longtime DownTown Issaquah Association executive director has not impeded the organization in the run-up to ArtWalk, a spring and summer staple for downtown merchants.

Organizers credited former Executive Director Greg Spranger and former Cultural Events Manager Michael Johnson with building solid support for the event.

The upcoming ArtWalk has focused renewed attention on a February staff shakeup at the downtown business organization. ArtWalk returns for a 10th season May 6 and runs one Friday each month until September.

DownTown Issaquah Association leaders decided to scrap the executive director position and hired another candidate as community relations manager rather than longtime executive director Spranger. Johnson then resigned in protest.

The decision prompted angry letters to the editor and hard feelings among some downtown merchants and supporters.

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Press Editorial

April 26, 2011

Future is undetermined for downtown boosters

The DownTown Issaquah Association has come under much criticism for reviewing and rewriting the job description of its leading staff member, and then hiring a new employee.

It may be that DIA needs to go one step further.

Currently, DIA has a community relations director and an events coordinator. It’s questionable whether both are really needed.

An events coordinator to manage ArtWalk five Friday nights a year, a car show in June, a spring cleaning of downtown, and a few other promotional activities that bring shoppers to Front Street and nearby businesses may be all DIA needs to focus on in this trimmer economy.

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DownTown Issaquah Association replaces longtime director

March 1, 2011

Downtown Issaquah booster Greg Spranger — nicknamed “Captain Downtown” — is out at the DownTown Issaquah Association after leading the organization for more than a decade.

DownTown Issaquah Association President David Irons said the organization is pursuing a different approach to boosting businesses and programs in the historic downtown. So, the board scrapped the executive director position Spranger held, and created a community relations manager post as a replacement.

Greg Spranger

The board hired Issaquah resident Tanya Alter for the post. Irons announced the appointment Feb. 28, the same day Alter started in the part-time position.

“When looking at her résumé, she had the attributes we were looking for in a candidate,” Irons said.

The organization put out a call for applicants in January; 42 people applied for the position, including Spranger.

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Downturn limits city dollars for tourism promotion

November 16, 2010

City leaders plan to use limited tourism dollars to help Village Theatre reach a broader audience, promote the Salmon Days Festival throughout the state and defray costs for the Fenders on Front Street car show.

The city Lodging Tax Advisory Committee has recommended $95,000 for a half-dozen projects. The bulk — $68,000 — has been earmarked for the Visitor Information Center operated by the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce. Read more

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