Northwest NEWS

February 4, 2002

Local News

Citizens participate in Woodinville's downtown vision

by Bronwyn Wilson
   Senior Staff Reporter
   Announced by all the trumpets of the sky, arrives the snow.... wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson in his poem, "Snow Storm."
   But even though the snow arrived, with or without the blast of trumpets, 60 people turned out at the City Council Chambers Tuesday evening, Jan. 29, to discuss the city's downtown master plan.
   The meeting was an opportunity for citizens to offer their input for Woodinville's downtown area.
   "There was a lot of positive energy at the meeting," said City Planner Carl Smith. "I was pleased to see the turnout due to the fact the weather that night was a little snowy."
   City Council member Don Brocha kicked off the meeting with introductory comments, encouraging people to take part in the plan's design. Smith followed by explaining the existing Comprehensive Plan, which states that the City needs a more specific plan now in order to implement the City's downtown vision.
   The City hired the consulting firm Crandall & Arambula of Portland to assist in illustrating the community's vision for downtown.
   At the meeting, the firm offered a visual presentation of projects they've been involved with and discussed how designing a downtown plan progresses.
   The citizens in attendance divided into small groups. Each had the opportunity to present their ideas and each was applauded by the others after speaking.
   The following is a list of some of the suggestions that came out of the meeting:
   More appealing pedestrian walkways with landscaping throughout downtown
   More cultural events such as live theater
   A downtown library
   More opportunities for kids with more parks and open space
   More affordable housing
   A provision for smaller boutique-type businesses
   Improved traffic circulation
   More mixed use development, including housing, offices and entertainment
   Innovative methods to allow development and protect the environment
   The citizens also discussed ways of connecting the downtown area to the tourist district, the area where the wineries and hotel are located.
   Said Smith, "The relationship between downtown and the tourist district was mentioned, in trying to make each a draw for the other."
   Smith said that citizens suggested ways this could be accomplished, such as transporting tourists on a boat ride down the Sammamish River.
   Others thought a horse drawn carriage would appeal to visitors, business owners and residents. One citizen proposed restoring passenger train service between the two districts.
   According to Smith, some of the citizens said they want to see the downtown become a destination.
   "A destination that is pleasing for its own sake, and not just to satisfy errands," Smith explained.
   Copies of citizen comments will be available in a week or two to those who would like one. In the meantime, the design consultants will take the general themes of citizen ideas for the downtown area and put them into a visual form. "That will be presented at the next meeting," Smith said. He encourages community involvement in the design process and commented that announcements for the next meeting, planned for early March, will be in the paper and on the City's Web site www.ci.woodinville.wa.us. The overall downtown planning process is anticipated to take about six months.
   For more information on the downtown master plan, contact Carl Smith, Department of Community Development, at 425-489-2757, Ext. 2282.