State of the City of Issaquah
State of the City Address
In my State of the City Address, I will review a number of key highlights from 2004 and I will also focus on our plans for the coming year.
In the past I have talked about our community’s values, our vision, and our commitments to one another, and to the place in which we live. I began, eight years ago, with the serious responsibility we share as members of this community. Several years later, I shared a vision of a sustainable Issaquah twenty years and more in the future.
I emphasize what a wonderful place that Issaquah is to work, to visit, to live. We are a city that is sustainable, one that persists and thrives because we have a great community spirit. We are a community that works creatively and hard at solving problems and developing new opportunities. Our can-do attitude, formed by the history of our town, is our bedrock. This spirit will continue to play an ever larger role in shaping our community as we move into 2005.
I will describe some of our notable achievements this past year, indicators of Issaquah’s sustainability and successes:
We built more parks;
added more open space;
completed more creek restoration (on Kees Creek and a key environmental achievement in the opening of the Tibbetts Creek tributary to Lake Sammamish, thereby once again reestablishing a salmon run);
opened the new Emergency Operations Center;
saved our taxpayers bond costs through excellent fiscal stewardship resulting in a higher financial bond credit rating;
in transportation, SR900 saw significant completion; the Rainier Bridge construction was completed; we prepared a series of capital projects readied for 2005 construction; and developed the (City’s first Intelligent Transportation System ITS) Strategic Plan;
voters approved the bond measure to fund the ITS project, which I’ll cover in a few minutes;
completed our Comprehensive Plan review to assure consistency with the Growth Management Act, and importantly, with our community vision and direction.
continued City leadership in sustainability in the building community;
we completed numerous other important projects
My Vision for 2005
Here is what we look forward to in the near future:
In 2005, the City will be busy with Transportation, Quality of Life and Environment projects and programs.
The City aggressively will continue its environmental stewardship, and actively will pursue grants for Open Space acquisitions.
In 2005, we will see the development of additional park facilities at Central Park, along with a new park, Grand View, fulfilling our vision to make our town an even more livable and vibrant place!
We will strengthen the City’s loaned art program and Human Services in collaboration with our Eastside neighbors, making our city an even more family-friendly place!
We will be expanding our Internet on-line services in the Building Permit area and adding online recreation class registration.
We will be updating our Transportation Impact Fees, along with our Police, Park and General Fees, to ensure that development pays its share.
We will continue our strong focus on Homeland Security in cooperation with Federal, State and local agencies.
We will be improving several key intersections (Front Street and Gilman; SE 56th and East Lake Sammamish Parkway; and 229th and East Lake Sammamish Parkway), thereby improving traffic flow.
We will complete the first phase of the ITS project, traffic signal improvements from E. Lake Sammamish down the SR900 corridor, moving traffic more efficiently (with like improvements in 2006 and 2007).
There will also be significant advances and key policy decisions made on the I-90 Undercrossing project, the SE Bypass, and Traffic Concurrency.
On a special note, the City has accomplished all this and more, including the excellent day-in and day-out services of all our departments. We have accomplished all this on a balanced budget in very difficult economic times over the last three years by strong fiscal leadership and management. This Administration has received high marks by Bond agencies for our fiscal integrity and management. Indeed we have significantly improved our financial position by strong budget management measures and by taking seriously our stewardship responsibilities.
I am proud that we persevere to achieve our vision.
I want to take a special moment tonight to recognize the culmination of fourteen years of vision, dedicated work and sustained leadership on the part of the City and its partners to re-open Tibbetts Creek to future salmon runs. Its restoration has been a remarkable project…..better for water quality, better for fish, better for the environment.
I will close as I began, by paying tribute to our strong and vibrant community and all the people whom make Issaquah a special place.
As we deal with these many core projects and issues facing us, I know that Issaquah as a community has the leadership, the spirit and the will to deal with challenges. Year after year, Issaquah receives awards, commendations, and grants for excellence in community planning, and for environmental, economics, and social sustainability. Beyond these tangible indicators of success, I hear from the people of this City why they have chosen to live in Issaquah. You have heard from some of them this evening. They value the support they receive for family members in our Community Center Special Populations programs and the Community Hall hot meal program. They live here because we care.
The questions before our community are:
What are our strengths?
What are the issues, the challenges before us?
What should be?
As we all know, there are no easy solutions to any of the important issues facing us, especially transportation; almost every project has its pro’s and con’s, its benefits and its costs. Yes, there are hard tradeoffs.
The most critical factor, though, is our community’s ability to develop a consensus around the issues and opportunities we face, and to then go out and create our future. This gathering together for the good of the community is leadership.
So, as we move ahead in 2005, what I value is our ability to plan together, work together, and to build our future together. We have more than enough talent and spirit to meet our challenges, and we recognize that our future is grounded in our history, our guiding principles and our willingness to work with one another.
I look forward to 2005 and to its challenges. Last year I asked the City Council to reaffirm our commitment to Issaquah’s vision and values. I now ask for your help and willingness to collaborate on the issues facing us…..to make Issaquah an even better place.
Ava Frisinger, Mayor