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 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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Music on the Streets returns with variety of acts

June 29, 2010

Issaquah’s best-kept secret is back.

Polly Blomster plays her tambourine while performing ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ June 26 with the Blues Studebakers, at the Front Street and Sunset Way pedestrian park during the first week this summer’s Music on the Streets schedule. By Greg Farrar

Music on the Streets, commonly known as MOTS, is coming to Issaquah for the fourth year in a row.

An offshoot of ArtWalk, a local success for the past eight years, MOTS is a fun, cultural live music event designed to draw people to downtown Issaquah.

This summer it will take over Front Street from Pedestrian Park, between JaK’s Grill and Mandarin Garden restaurant, to Stage 195, 195th Front St. N., in front of Stella and artbyfire.

From June 24 until Sept. 24, nearly 50 live music acts will perform every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening. Every event is free to the public.

The idea was born from the huge popularity of musical acts that performed at ArtWalk. This year, some of the artists performing at MOTS will also perform at ArtWalk.

“It helps keep the area alive,” Events Director Michael Johnson said. “It’s fun and it brings a vibe and atmosphere to Issaquah.”

All of the music is kid friendly, making the mini concerts perfect events to attend as a family.

Unlike other summer concerts, MOTS is ideal for passers-by to come and go as they please. Read more

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

Joan Probala relies on past experiences in new challenge

October 6, 2009

Joan Probala

Joan Probala

Long before she launched her bid for City Council, before she even became a city resident, Joan Probala laid the groundwork for her campaign. Probala and her family moved to South Cove in 1979, decades before the neighborhood along Lake Sammamish would be annexed into Issaquah.

When Probala talks about her candidacy — and she talks about her candidacy a lot these days — she mentions her role in extending city limits to include South Cove, where residents voted for annexation in November 2005.

Probala, a real estate agent and former Issaquah Chamber of Commerce president, touts her ability to bring together South Cove community groups. Her credentials as a member of the city Arts, Planning Policy and Sister Cities commissions form a cornerstone of her bid. Read more