Council sets aside nearly $1 million for affordable housing

September 30, 2015

NEW — 5:17 p.m. Sept. 30, 2015

While council members have admitted the money won’t do much by itself, on Sept. 21, the City Council approved setting aside $965,000 for affordable housing projects in Issaquah.

Actually, the council returned the money to the cause of affordable housing after an effort to create a human services campus in the city ended in August. That effort started in 2006; the council approved moving $1 million in affordable housing funds to support the campus effort in 2008.

Saying they simply had exhausted every feasible possibility, officials of the Redmond-based Together Center called a halt to the effort to build a combined social services center in Issaquah. Center officials said they simply could not find affordable property and called a halt to the search. At the Sept. 21 meeting, various council members expressed disappointment the plan did not come to fruition. Councilman Joshua Schaer expressed a hope the money set aside for the center eventually would be put to some other significant use. Minus $35,000 spent on a city-approved feasibility study, the money earmarked for the Together Center became available again. Read more

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Together Center abandons plans to bring human services campus to Issaquah

August 17, 2015

NEW — 6 p.m. Aug. 17, 2015

An effort apparently underway since 2006 has come to an end.

On Aug. 14, Together Center announced it is concluding efforts to establish a human services campus in Issaquah.

Lead volunteers Margaret Moore and John Rittenhouse, along with Together Center CEO Pam Mauk, met with Issaquah officials to inform them of their decision.

“Identification and acquisition of appropriate property has been the major stumbling block,” Moore said in a press release. “We know the Issaquah community’s need for easier access to services has only grown. We also know that there are many agencies that would love to be part of a nonprofit service hub. We just could not find a site where we could pull this off in Issaquah.” Read more

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Human Services Campus plans move forward

August 26, 2014

Issaquah’s planned Human Services Campus has made its way back to the City Council for discussion.

Service organizations AtWork!, of Issaquah, and the Together Center, of Redmond, have long worked to develop an Issaquah campus that would incorporate a number of local nonprofit organizations under one roof.

A search for a location to house the campus held the project up until last year. Now, with a location in mind, the two organizations will work on a three-party agreement with the city to see the plan come to fruition.

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December 31, 2013

2014 goals for a better Issaquah

The Issaquah Press presents its annual list of goals for the Issaquah area. A few are repeats from last year, still waiting to be accomplished but worthy of repeating.

February elections — The trio of school district levies, the Klahanie annexation decision and the repeal of the plastic bag ban are all up for a vote. The only good thing about the dismal turnout of voters in the November election is the easy assurance of getting enough voters to validate the school levy election. Let’s hope Issaquah voters get back on track and return their ballots in higher numbers in 2014.

Central Issaquah Plan — The redevelopment plan is in place and developers now know how to maximize the use of their property. One project has already been proposed. It will be interesting to see what other plans come forward and whether the CIP is achieving its goals.

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Teamwork could form human services campus

July 30, 2013

Service organization AtWork! might team up with the Together Center to found a human services campus in the former’s existing facility.

In its effort to bring employment and community service agencies together, the Together Center, in Redmond, has had plans to established a location that could house multiple resources for all people. Housing, job placement and medical services are just a few of the things it hopes to bring into such a facility.

“We’ve been looking for property for years,” Together Center Executive Director Pam Mauk said. Though the two organizations have only been communicating for a few months, she said their common goals could mean cooperation. “We are both in discussions. The missions of AtWork! and Together Center could work together at that site.”

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January 1, 2013

2013 goals are imperative for Issaquah

Our news staff and editorial board put their heads together each year to create a list of 2013 goals for the Issaquah area. Some are repeats from former years, but are still waiting to be accomplished.

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Site is eyed for Issaquah human services campus

July 31, 2012

The long-gestating plan to build a human services campus in Issaquah is a step closer to reality, as organizers inch closer to selecting a site for the facility.

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City Council candidates, unopposed in election, outline goals for future

November 29, 2011

Though most City Council seats appeared on the November ballot, voters faced a choice in a lone race — the contest between incumbent Joshua Schaer and challenger TJ Filley. (Schaer claimed a second term in a landslide.)

The other seats up for election did not attract challengers, so incumbents Fred Butler and Stacy Goodman, plus newcomer Paul Winterstein, coasted through campaign season. The next council is due to settle into office in early January.

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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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Supporters outline future for human services campus

April 5, 2011

The push to select a location and raise dollars to build a long-planned human services campus in Issaquah — envisioned as a clearinghouse for employment assistance, food aid, health care and more — should start in earnest this spring and summer after years spent on discussions and studies.

Organizers plan to launch a fundraising campaign for the campus, identify anchor tenants and, most critically, select property or a building to house the facility.

John Rittenhouse

The result could resemble the nonprofit Together Center, a similar campus in Redmond. In 2007, Issaquah leaders and the Together Center — then called the Family Resource Center — partnered to spearhead a feasibility study for a campus in Issaquah.

Together Center Executive Director Pam Mauk and John Rittenhouse, a former Issaquah councilman and a Together Center board member, presented the study to City Council members March 29.

“So, what does the study conclude?” Rittenhouse asked. “It concludes that a human services campus being sited in Issaquah is feasible. Under all scenarios that were studied by the consultants, a campus is doable in Issaquah.”

Plans for the campus hinge on the location, and whether organizers opt to build a campus or lease space in existing structures.

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