City of Kent wins 2018 Governor’s Smart Communities Award

Last week Governor Jay Inslee announced the winners of the 2018 Smart Communities Awards, and the city of Kent received the governor’s Smart Choices award for its ‘Meet Me on Meeker’ Streetscape standards.

The awards program recognizes achievements by local leaders who promote growth planning and projects that contribute to thriving communities, strong economies and sustainable infrastructure in Washington state.

“Outstanding local collaboration is key to creating sustainable communities with a shared vision for their future growth and prosperity,” Gov. Inslee said in a news release. “These community projects demonstrate why Washington is such a special place to live, work and play.”

The Meet Me on Meeker project seeks to reimagine a former main street that has experienced neglect and disinvestment into a safe and welcoming environment for visitors and residents. The project aims to increase economic development opportunities by raising the standard of urban design and creating a more walkable, desirable urban street.

The city hired engineering and urban design consultants KPG to prepare a city policy for street and sidewalk design, called the Meet Me on Meeker Streetscape standards. The standards are the key to going from concept to funded construction.

“This project is going to be transformational, and we’re delighted that the governor’s office chose to recognize us,” said Hayley Bonsteel, long range planning manager for the city’s economic and community development department.

“We know the look and feel of a major street like Meeker impacts business retention and how the city is perceived. These kinds of improvements are central to the city’s economic development strategy. Plus, with new housing being built along Meeker, we’re minimizing congestion by making it easier to walk, use transit, or ride a bike,” Bonsteel added.

Washington Department of Commerce Director Brian Bonlender commented on the awards.

“The 2018 Governor’s Smart Communities Award winners again showcase some truly exciting efforts toward sustainable growth and resilience that will strengthen communities for the future,” said Bonlender.

For more information on the Governor’s Smart Communities Awards or the Growth Management Act, visit Commerce.WA.gov/Growth.