2017 Governor’s Smart Communities Award Winners Announced

Seven counties, nine cities, two ports and one college receive awards for innovative growth planning

The first wine buildings are already under construction at Columbia Gardens Urban Wine and Artisan Village along Columbia Drive in east Kennwick.
The first wine buildings are already under construction at Columbia Gardens Urban Wine and Artisan Village along Columbia Drive in east Kennwick.

OLYMPIA – Governor Jay Inslee today announced winners of the 2017 Smart Communities Awards. Now in its 12th year, the program recognizes achievements by local leaders who promote smart growth planning and projects that contribute to thriving communities, a prosperous economy and sustainable infrastructure in Washington State.

“These projects help create and sustain thriving communities. They facilitate the growth of local economies by creating ‘quality of place’ that can help retain and attract business and broaden the economic growth around the state,” said Gov. Inslee.

The 2017 Governor’s Smart Communities Award winners are:

Smart Vision Award – Comprehensive planning

  • City of Anacortes included over 1,000 community members to create an exceedingly thorough and well thought out 2016 Comprehensive Plan.  Anacortes showed leadership in planning for smart, sustainable growth and recognizes the important role it serves in protecting surrounding rural, forested and marine areas so important to Anacortes and Skagit County citizens.
  • City of Hoquiam and the City of Aberdeen TimberWorks Resiliency and Restoration Master Plan for the cities of Aberdeen and Hoquiam is a strong roadmap for reducing the risk of flooding in their communities. Protecting properties from water damage, reducing the financial costs of flooding and enhancing the physical character of the community are crucial to economic and community development.
  • Whatcom County 2016 Comprehensive Plan Update was unique. It brought in new elements including climate change resiliency strategies and Marine Resource Lands section to conserve and enhance Whatcom County’s marine land base for the long-term and sustainable production commercial and recreational economic activities.

Smart Choices Award – Implementation of a comprehensive plan

  • Kittitas County for its Kittitas County Tourism Infrastructure Plan. A complex project that successfully included an extensive public outreach process involving residents, visitors, and public, nonprofit and private parties identifying tourism assets, measuring potentials, evaluating strategies.  The goal, creating an effective and equitable method of competitively allocating lodging tax revenues for tourism infrastructure development as part of the overall comprehensive plan’s economic development element.
  • City of Sedro-Woolley, Port of Skagit and Skagit County Subarea Plan and Planned Action Environmental Impact Statement sets the stage for revitalization of the former Northern State Hospital, a National Register Historic District property. This is a model of public-private partnerships applying planning tools to establish a framework for implementation of a community vision.

Smart Partnerships Award – Project implementing a comprehensive plan

  • City of Kennewick Columbia Drive Urban Revitalization Area project demonstrates excellence, innovation and a creative approach to both planning, funding, and implementation
  • Port of Kennewick spent millions of dollars buying, clearing and preparing the waterfront for redevelopment now the Columbia Drive Urban Revitalization Area project with the City of Kennewick, Benton County and Columbia Basin College has strengthened historic downtown Kennewick’s economy through their shared investments.
  • Benton County provided $2.1 million in Rural County Capital Funds for infrastructure to complete Columbia Gardens Wine and Artisan Village and prepare the Willows for commercial development, revitalizing tired, neglected properties help the Columbia Drive Urban Revitalization Area project further leverage valuable community assets.
  • Columbia Basin College also is a partner in this non-traditional approach to economic development.  Their part of the project includes the construction of the Columbia Basin College Culinary Institute, adding to the accessible and sustainable gathering place with activities to attract and engage residents and visitors.

Smart Projects Award – Development project to implement a plan

  • City of Kirkland Arete Mixed-Use Development project has created new economic development opportunities with pedestrian-oriented retail space.  The city partnered with a developer around shared commitments to affordability, diversity, quality design, transportation choices and green building.

Judges’ Merit Award – The judges also selected two projects for a special merit award

  • City of Clarkston, Town of Starbuck, Asotin County ,Columbia County and Garfield County joined together to create a five-jurisdiction plan, the Southeast Washington Coalition Shoreline Master Program Update (SEWASMP).  This is a never-before-seen cooperative Growth Management strategy.  The new SEWASMP allows for consistency among local jurisdictions while simultaneously being tailored to each individual region.
  • City of Renton Galvanizing Art Projects Program is an innovative method of funding locally made public art with limited resources and great results. The projects are transforming empty and meaningless spaces into focal points and engaging artists of all ages and skills.  It celebrates the diversity of the city and offers opportunities for all, regardless of economics, education, age, gender or ethnic origin.

Notable 2017 Submittals

  • City of Hoquiam – Hoquiam Waterfront Boat Launch and Moorage Project
  • City of Issaquah – Costco/Issaquah Corporate Campus Development Agreement
  • City of Kelso – West Kelso Subarea Plan
  • City of Olympia – City of Olympia Action Plan
  • City of Renton – Downtown Commercial Rehabilitation and Facade Improvement Loan Program
  • City of Ridgefield – Ridgefield Mixed Use Overlay/Commercial Design Standards
  • City of Sea Tac –  Angle Lake Link Light Rail Station & Parking Facility
  • City of Spokane Valley – Spokane Valley Comprehensive Plan
  • Island County – 2016 Island County Comprehensive Plan

The Governor’s Smart Communities awards will be highlighted in June at the Association of Washington Cities annual conference at Hilton Vancouver Washington Convention Center in Vancouver and in November at the Washington State Association of Counties annual conference at DoubleTree by Hilton in SeaTac.

“The 2017 Governor’s Smart Communities Award winners reflect a wide variety of efforts that strengthen communities by engaging in collaborative planning for future growth and economic development,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender.

Washington’s comprehensive Growth Management Act has been in place for 27 years. Using it as a framework, local communities plan and implement their vision for the future. For more information on the Governor’s Smart Communities Awards or the Growth Management Act, visit www.commerce.wa.gov/growth.

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