Art goes outdoors for new weeklong festival

July 15, 2014

ArtEAST and the Issaquah Highlands Council have separately done their parts to support and enliven the local arts community. Now, the two groups have combined efforts to present the area’s first ever Art Outside festival.

The weeklong festival that started July 11. It combines five events from the two organizations and lasts through July 20. ArtEAST Executive Director Karen Abel said combining forces with the Issaquah Highlands Council for the festival is a match made in heaven.

“ArtEAST has always been about supporting artists getting involved with the community and the Highlands Council wanted a way to get the community involved with art at their annual festival,” Abel said.

One of the artists participating in the Plein Air Paint Out is Arlon Rosenoff, who painted this painting, ‘Sun dress.’

One of the artists participating in the Plein Air Paint Out is Arlon Rosenoff, who painted this painting, ‘Sun dress.’

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Construction starts on long-awaited Issaquah Highlands retail center

July 3, 2012

Earth-moving equipment works at the intersection of Highlands Drive Northeast and Northeast High Street on June 26 as construction starts on Grand Ridge Plaza. By Autumn Monahan

Finally, after years of plans and promises, developers and officials gathered in the Issaquah Highlands early June 26 to launch construction on a $70 million retail center in the neighborhood — a long-awaited amenity for residents and, in recent years, a symbol for the anemic economy and rebound.

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City Council outlines Issaquah goals for 2013

June 5, 2012

City Council members agreed to study options for the aging Issaquah Skate Park to turn it from a bastion for drug use into a community asset, boost economic development efforts in the city and conduct another study about the future of Klahanie.

Other priorities included a plan to televise council budget deliberations, hire a lobbyist to advocate for Issaquah in Olympia, and develop a comprehensive policy related to bicyclists and pedestrians.

The council, alongside representatives from municipal departments, gathered in a YWCA Family Village at Issaquah conference room June 2 to formulate the list.

In the rare Saturday meeting, council members trimmed a long list into priorities for 2013. Though the council conducted the heavy lifting at the retreat, the process is not yet done.

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City Council announces annual goal-setting retreat

May 29, 2012

Citizens can join the City Council for a daylong retreat June 2 as officials meet to set goals for 2013.

The council meets each spring to draft goals and determine priorities for the months ahead. The process starts the effort to craft a municipal budget for the coming year.

Mayor Ava Frisinger, municipal department chiefs and other officials also join the council.

The retreat runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the lower Community Room at YWCA Family Village at Issaquah, 949 N.E. Ingram Way.

The council 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.

Other priorities included offering additional city information online, improving downtown parking access and discussing possible arrangements for the aging Julius Boehm Pool.

The goal to create a municipal Economic Vitality Commission came to fruition May 16, as members held the inaugural meeting.

City Council approves dollars for affordable housing

February 28, 2012

Officials used $55,249 in city funds to build affordable housing in other King County cities, including a planned Kirkland shelter for homeless youths and a Bellevue shelter for homeless women.

City Council members approved the expenditure to A Regional Coalition for Housing — a joint group including King County and 15 Eastside cities — in a unanimous decision Feb. 6. Issaquah officials used leftover funds from Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 construction to fund affordable housing projects.

“This was one of those last-minute budget decisions that came out of our budget discussion at the end of last year,” Councilman Mark Mullet said. “We decided ARCH was important.”

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Mayor focuses on economy in State of the City address

February 7, 2012

Mayor Ava Frisinger highlighted a more muscular economic development effort and a reshuffled City Hall structure in the State of the City address — the speech to set Issaquah leaders’ agenda for the months ahead.

The address, delivered Feb. 6, days after the city announced employee layoffs, echoed a top priority from the City Council — a concerted effort to attract businesses to Issaquah and convince established businesses to remain in the city. The effort to remake City Hall functions also dominated the speech.

Ava Frisinger

“A major focus for 2012 will be enhancing our economic vitality, which is a community’s capacity to be economically competitive, resilient and attractive to both private and public enterprise,” Frisinger said.

Under a reorganization plan prepared by Seattle consultant Moss Adams and delivered late last year, the city focused on efficiency and effectiveness. The consultant discovered different cultures, expectations and management styles across municipal departments. Moss Adams pointed out the differences in coordination, scheduling and tracking across departments.

“In the end, our goal is to enhance customer service, find efficiencies and prepare our city for the years and decades ahead,” Frisinger said.

Though the reorganization emerged as a strong theme, Frisinger also used the address to spotlight ongoing projects.

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Issaquah mayor focuses on economy in State of the City address

February 7, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Feb. 7, 2012

Mayor Ava Frisinger highlighted a more muscular economic development effort and a reshuffled City Hall structure in the State of the City address — the speech to set Issaquah leaders’ agenda for the months ahead.

Ava Frisinger

The address, delivered Monday, days after the city announced employee layoffs, echoed a top priority from the City Council — a concerted effort to attract businesses to Issaquah and convince established businesses to remain in the city. The effort to remake City Hall functions also dominated the speech.

“A major focus for 2012 will be enhancing our economic vitality, which is a community’s capacity to be economically competitive, resilient and attractive to both private and public enterprise,” Frisinger said.

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Milestones from the year 2011 reflect changes

December 27, 2011

Renewal defined the year, as the community paused after a population boom and economic bust — and positioned Issaquah for the decades ahead.

Milestones from the last 12 months offer contrasts.

Leaders opened showcases for “green” design and concluded a milestone effort to preserve Tiger Mountain forestland. Tragedy left indelible impressions, too, as a gunman menaced downtown pedestrians on a September morning and turned a school campus into a crime scene.

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Issaquah Highlands pedestrian bridge is meant to smooth access

December 13, 2011

The pedestrian bridge across Highlands Drive Northeast is lifted into place the early morning of Dec. 8 after arriving on site the day before in pieces on flatbed trucks from Florida. Contributed

The route is easier for pedestrians to cross a major thoroughfare after crews completed a pedestrian bridge across Highlands Drive Northeast on a moonlit morning last week.

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Issaquah quarry site is considered for homes, businesses

November 8, 2011

The hillside quarry below the Issaquah Highlands, plus land adjacent to the highlands, could someday transform into businesses and homes, if the city and landowner approve a long-term agreement to redevelop the site.

The landowner and quarry operator, Lakeside Industries Inc., proposed a development agreement for the 80-acre site.

The site — a quarry, a hillside and land on the plateau adjacent to the highlands — is zoned for mineral resources. The agreement under consideration could change the zoning to urban village — the same zoning for the highlands and Talus.

“We envision redevelopment that follows the patterns we are seeing in the highlands,” Lakeside Industries CEO Tim Lee said in a letter to City Administrator Bob Harrison. “Specifically, we foresee mixed uses and moderate density in a walkable community.”

City Council members sent the proposal to a committee Nov. 7 for further discussion.

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