Downtown Issaquah welcomes Santa at tree lighting

November 30, 2010

Santa Claus poses with Snoqualmie resident Ellen Ke and her daughter, Carol Gong, as husband and father Jeffrey Gong snaps a photo, during the 2009 Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Pedestrian Park. By Greg Farrar

Carolers and artists add holiday magic to Christmas kickoff

Though nighttime darkness falls at about 4:30 p.m. this time of year, Issaquah’s annual Christmas tree lighting is poised to light up the night with colorful ornaments, caroling, hot cider and cookies.

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New design envisioned for downtown park

March 16, 2010

Issaquah landscape architect Dar Webb re-envisioned Pedestrian Park. Downtown boosters hope the proposal launches a discussion about the future of the park. Contributed

Advocates for downtown Issaquah want to transform the space between Jak’s Grill and Mandarin Garden from a blah concrete expanse into a vibrant park for pedestrians, musicians and festival vendors.

Michael Johnson, events director for the DownTown Issaquah Association, asked Dar Webb, a landscape architect and a downtown tenant, to re-envision the space known as Pedestrian Park. Webb presented a park lined with trees, planters and public art.

“That place would be unbelievably packed if we opened it up like this,” Johnson said.

The proposal received a warm reception from the city Arts Commission when Johnson and Webb presented renderings and discussed the idea March 8. However, any proposal to remake the park must go through the public process for all city projects.

The proposal presented last week merely shows how Pedestrian Park could be improved. Any eventual upgrades to the park will look different from the renderings Webb prepared.

Johnson said he hopes the proposal will encourage business owners, city officials and residents to re-envision the space. Read more

Artists create lasting memories of community icons

September 1, 2009

Artist Ashley Weiss paid tribute to set designer Alex Berry with this sculpture in last year’s Collective Memory project. File

Artist Ashley Weiss paid tribute to set designer Alex Berry with this sculpture in last year’s Collective Memory project. File

Alex Berry was left with such a lasting impression after being honored in the 2008 artEAST Collective Memory Project, that he decided to return the favor for someone this year.

The Collective Memory project began in 2007 when 18 artEAST artists partnered with local community members — from well known to obscure, quiet to colorful — who helped shape the community. The artists honored these citizens by telling their life stories through original works of art.

Berry, 43, a native of Issaquah, had his story told of working 30 years at Village Theatre as everything from director to set designer, in the form of a sculpture by artist Ashley Weiss.

“It was absolutely fabulous,” he said. “I was so impressed by all the quality of work produced.”

So impressed, he asked to be involved this year as an artist. Karen Abel, executive director of artEAST, paired him with Greg Spranger, the man behind many DownTown Issaquah Association projects.

“I had heard of Greg long before I actually met him,” Berry said. “A couple years ago, he called me and wanted me and my father to come down and paint oversized wooden Christmas ornaments for the Hailstone Feed Store project.” Read more

Poker tourney to help the Issaquah Valley Trolley

July 21, 2009

a&e-poker-poster-20090700 Poker pro Barry Greenstein is known as the Robin Hood of poker, because he donates all of his tournament winnings to charity.

Now’s your chance to be the Robin Hood of Issaquah. The Issaquah Trolley Committee is hosting a Braggin’ Rights Trolley Texas Hold ’Em Poker Tournament July 25 at the depot museum. The beneficiaries are the two trolleys acquired by the city.

Since the Issaquah Depot Museum’s restoration in 1994, city leaders have long sought to also restore the trolley line, linking historic downtown to Gilman Boulevard. Read more

Long-awaited trolley gets a clear track

December 8, 2008

Could be up and running by summer

At long last, the final obstacle to restoring trolley service in Issaquah was removed Dec. 1 by the City Council. A vintage streetcar could be operating downtown by summer 2009. Read more