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State of the City of Issaquah

January 21, 2003

I will begin by welcoming a new neighborhood to Issaquah, Providence Point.  As of January 1, 2003, all 1,400 members joined Issaquah as its newest citizens!  Issaquah now serves a community of 15,000 residents and will be addressing a wide range of service needs in the years ahead.

In previous State of the City messages, I have focused on the future.  I believe it is equally as important to look back and reflect on all the good we have accomplished, including the bases (or reasons) for many of our actions.

The City (both policymakers and staff), along with community organizations and individuals are, together, creating a strong, livable community in which to raise a family, to live, to play and to work.

As we move forward with our work this coming year, it is important to remind ourselves of our core values/principles that define Issaquah as a sustainable community; environmentally, economically and socially: 

Our Guiding Principles are:

1.      Environmental excellence

2.      Innovative and integrated planning

3.      Community involvement

4.      A people place

5.      A balanced community

6.      Excellence in governmental services

I am reiterating these values, because we often get caught up in the topic of the moment (regional water, or transportation, or the SE Bypass).  All issue require our attention, but very importantly, we are much more than any single issue.  We are also about providing public safety, great parks, clean water, maintaining safe streets, planning, environmental stewardship, emergency preparedness and response, and a great deal more.

We are about building our sustainable future:

  • Protecting our water and streams [as part of our commitment to Environmental Excellence]:

    • Undertaking the Bianco Mine tailings stabilization project to protect the health of Tibbetts Creek and Lake Sammamish.

    • Protecting our aquifer recharge areas by strengthening our Critical Area Regulations.

    • Constructing Tibbetts Greenway improvements within the Tibbetts Valley Park; and

    • Constructing a fire station with environmentally-friendly design & building features. 

  • Providing sound fiscal stewardship: 

    • Maintaining our existing investments in infrastructure/assets (street overlay programs, our building and parks facilities, water and storm facilities, rehab of aging sewer system).

  • Addressing traffic problems through street improvements, such as:

    • Sunset neighborhood traffic improvements to assist traffic flow;

    • A traffic calming program;

    • Improvements to 56th/East Lake Sammamish intersection.

    • Traffic signal improvement program

    • The SPAR Road and Sunset Interchange, which will be fully completed and open this summer.

    • Completion of the I-90 Crossing Evaluation, along with an environmental assessment.

  • Parks (Helping make Issaquah the special kind of place for people that it is!).

    • We’ve improved upon Tibbetts Valley Park this past year or two with tennis courts and playground additions, the addition of lighting for the sports field, improved parking, and improvements to Tibbetts Creek Manor.

    • And looking ahead:  2003 will see the initial phase of construction of Central Park in the Issaquah Highlands.  This will be a 50+ acre City park with soccer and baseball fields, tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds and other facilities when completed.

  • Technology investments (to give our employees the necessary tools for the greatest public benefit) to provide excellent services.

    • Police mobile laptop programs.

    • Continuation of e-Gov initiative (online access to government services).

    • Improved communications, to mention just a few.

  • Utilities

    • 480 Zone Reservoir for public health and safety

    • Forest Rim Water Reservoir

    • Lewis Lane Sewer Project

    • A lower fire rating (saving fire insurance premiums) based in part to improvements to our water supply. 

It’s important to take a minute here to reflect on how much of our work in the Environment and Utility Service areas have resulted in real benefits to our community.  Although you rarely think of these services, the City has recently received improved ratings that help businesses, citizens and the community as a whole, as a result of the City’s actions.  A number of years ago (1995) the City adopted the Issaquah Creek Basin Plan.  It set out to improve the Issaquah Creek, a key resource, to achieve better flood control and to enhance fish habitat and water quality.  We have achieved successes on the Plan because of our sustained commitment and will continue to do so in the year ahead.  We have a greatly improved flood insurance rating, again as a result of City initiatives (stream channel work) in implementing the Basin Plan. 

We could spend a long time talking about the great services and accomplishments we provide and have achieved as a city, because the list is an extensive one. 

However, I also want to briefly reflect on the City’s active role and broad involvement in fostering and building a strong, balanced community (Social Sustainability):

  • AtWork - working with dozens of Human Services agencies;

  • MainStreet – working to keep downtown vital;

  • Mountains-to-Sound Greenway;

  • Salmon Days;

  • F.I.S.H.;

  • Public Arts (pedestrian corridor);

  • Issaquah Valley Seniors’ new Senior Center

  • Issaquah Community Services – Food and Clothing Bank


These clips we’ve just seen highlight the state of our City, show our recent past accomplishments and speak to our promising future as we continue to address real needs, plan for the right solutions, and deliver excellent services to all the people of Issaquah.  I look forward to working with the Council to make 2003 a very productive year.  Thank you all!!

Mayor Ava Frisinger  


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  Rev. 11/10/03