Community Investment Strategy
Issaquah residents and businesses have expressed they want more investments in the City’s transportation system, our parks and general infrastructure. Issaquah’s infrastructure needs greatly surpass the City’s current ability to pay for those needs. The lack of funding has provided significant challenges for the City to maintain existing and fund new infrastructure that meets the Issaquah community’s needs and standards for transportation, parks and trails, and other city facilities.
As part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars the City received, $2 million has been allocated to the Community Investment Fund. We are asking residents to help us determine how best to improve transportation in Issaquah with those funds.
Using the criteria below, we developed a list of five projects to have residents rank:
- Ability to be completed within ARPA grant timeline (by 2024);
- Eligibility with ARPA grant requirements;
- Addresses issues of quality of life and safety;
- Focus on transportation and trails projects;
- Already vetted and in Issaquah's Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), but lacks funding;
- Addresses pain points across the City and
- Return on investment/projects with highest impact relative to cost
Not all projects can be funded with the $2 million, so please provide your input on which to prioritize through this survey by Oct. 3!
In Sept. 2021, Mayor Pauly formed a Task Force comprised of community members to provide recommendations on which types of infrastructure needs the City should prioritize and how to fund those needs. The Task Force presented their recommendations in March 2022.
Mayor Pauly devised a Community Investment Strategy to implement the Task Force recommendations. This strategy was first presented to the City Council on June 27, 2022. Council authorized the first steps in July 2022.
The Community Investment Strategy includes immediate and medium-term actions that:
- Continues to upgrade the transportation system to make it easier to get around for those who live, work, and play here.
- Includes smaller improvements like crosswalks and bicycle lanes to more significant projects like planning for an additional crossing of Interstate 90 that will be integrated with the future light rail station.
- Enhances parks and open spaces, including modernizing one of the City’s main parks based on community input and acquiring new open spaces to preserve the green spaces that Issaquah is known for.
The Strategy includes a proposed timeline for considering ballot measures to fund needed infrastructure. One of these measures would provide more funding for transportation infrastructure and the other would provide more funding to parks by creating a Parks District.
The City was awarded $11 million from the Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). These funds can only be spent as stipulated by the federal government and must be spent by the end of 2024. The City has allocated ARPA funding to the following infrastructure projects:
- $4 million: Investment in the City's Park system. Current discussions are underway with the Parks Board to determine the best place for the investment within the Issaquah Creek Corridor and the City's Anchor Parks which include Tibbetts Valley, Confluence and Veterans Memorial Parks. Once the park project is selected further public engagement will help complete the vision for that specific park. This community engagement and project scoping would be completed in 2022, with design and permitting for that Phase 1 work in 2023, and construction in 2024.
- $1 million: Future crossing of I-90 co-located with the light rail station. This will fund a planning study to determine the preferred location of the future station, identify environmental impacts, construction phasing, and integration between the future light rail station and bus transit.
- $2 million: Strategic parkland acquisition and improvement. The City traditionally sets aside $400,000 annually for creekside parkland acquisition and $275,000 for hillside acquisition annually. Investing more in this effort will allow the City to take advantage of future opportunities to purchase park land as discussed in the Parks Strategic Plan.
- $2 million: Community-selected mobility projects around the City, known as the Community Mobility Investment Fund. The City will utilize a public engagement process this fall to ask community members which small mobility capital projects they would like to see funded. Learn more about the Community Mobility Investment Fund.
In addition to ARPA, the City continues to use a variety of funds to plan and construct infrastructure. For example, the 2022 Budget allocated over $1.5 million for Parks & Trail projects and over $7.7 million for Transportation projects. These funds included General Fund taxes like property, sales and utility taxes, an excise tax collected from the sale of real estate, fees collected from new development, and grants from the state and federal government. In some cases, the City also uses “fund balance,” which is money saved from revenues brought in but not spent in previous years.
These funds help the City continue to plan and construct infrastructure across the City. Some of the parks projects include:
- Expanding Harvey Manning Park for broader use, including day uses and regional trail connections;
- Standardizing park and trail signage to improve user experience throughout Issaquah's parks and trails;
- Completing playground and sport field updates at Blackberry Park and
- Planning for the construction of updates at Hillside Park.
At the same time, the City has funded transportation projects that include:
- Improving the turn lane capacity at 12th Ave NW and State Route 900 / 17th Avenue NW;
- Designing a wider NW Lake Sammamish roadway between 193rd Place SE and the State Park Entrance as well as improving the curb, gutter, sidewalks, bike lanes and storm drainage;
- Painting signal poles throughout the Issaquah Highlands and
- Performing annual pavement and sidewalk concrete maintenance and improvement throughout the City.