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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Council Roundup April 21

Council awards major contract for neighborhood sidewalk program

Also: affordable housing strategies for Bel-Red discussed; local businesses applauded for recycling; washer sellers cited for contributions to water conservation efforts 

City Council members Monday approved the city's first major construction contract under the new Neighborhood Sidewalk Program.

The contract for construction of a sidewalk on 128th Avenue Southeast between Southeast 25th and 32nd streets is expected to provide an important connection between the Woodridge neighborhood and the Factoria  area. The project also will provide a safer school walking route to Woodridge Elementary School.

Dennis R. Craig Construction, Inc., which submitted the low bid for the project, is expected to begin construction late this spring or early summer once the relocation of utility poles is complete. 

The Neighborhood Sidewalk Program was established last year to respond to neighborhood priorities for sidewalks that exceed the financial capacity of other city programs. Last July, the Council allocated $3 million to the program for three projects.

Besides the 128th Avenue project, the Council approved projects on Southeast 26th Street between 168th Avenue Southeast and West Lake Sammamish Parkway, and on Somerset Avenue Southeast, between Somerset Boulevard Southeast and Somerset Place Southeast.

Those projects presently are being designed, with construction expected to begin in early 2009.

Workforce housing strategies for Bel-Red discussed
What strategies should the city adopt to facilitate construction of affordable housing for workers and others in Bel-Red as the area is transformed in coming years through zoning and other changes?

That was the issue discussed before City Council members Monday during a briefing presented by the city's Planning and Community Development Department.

The briefing was held prior to a May 28 public hearing at City Hall during which the Planning Commission will take comment on draft comprehensive plan and land use code amendments for Bel-Red.

The commission is expected to vote on its final recommendations  this summer. The City Council will take final action on the recommendations later this year, following public outreach.

In recent years, the lack of affordable housing has been cited as one of Bellevue's major challenges in public opinion surveys conducted by the city's Human Services Commission. The city, working primarily through the nonprofit A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH), has worked successfully with neighboring communities to provide affordable housing in Bellevue and other Eastside communities.

Last year, the City Council endorsed an affordable housing work program focusing on evaluating tools that could be used in Bel-Red and elsewhere in the city to encourage housing affordability. The intention was to consider affordable housing strategies for workers and others up front as the initial Bel-Red plan and zoning changes were put into effect.

In its preferred alternative, the citizen's panel advising the city on Bel-Red envisioned the creation of 5,000 additional housing units of all types in the area as it evolves in coming years.

Businesses applauded for recycling
Four Bellevue businesses were recognized for their high recycling levels. Each of the businesses recycles more than 70 percent of their waste, resulting in materials being processed as renewable resources instead of going to the regional landfill.

La Tienda Grocery won for the third year in a row in the small commercial category by maintaining a recycling rate of 87 percent. Del-Teet Furniture and Pot O'Gold Coffee tied in the medium commercial category with a recycling rate of 73 percent.

The Northup Building won the large commercial category with a recycling rate of 71 percent.

The annual commercial recycling awards began in 2004, when the city entered into a new solid waste contract with Allied Waste Services. As top recyclers for 2007, the businesses will receive a free month of garbage and recycling service from Allied.

Washer sellers cited for conservation efforts
Three Bellevue businesses -- Crossroads Appliances, Home Depot and Lowe’s -- were recognized for contributing to the city's water conservation goals by selling efficient clothes washers.

Through the WashWise Clothes Washer Rebate Program, the city teams with the Cascade Water Alliance to offer rebates to residents who purchases energy- and water-efficient washers. In 2007, the three companies awarded 1,020 WashWise rebates.

The new washers sold are expected to result in water savings of nearly 5.5 million gallons per year over traditional washers.

Besides saving water, the new washers also use less energy and create less wastewater than traditional machines, resulting in lower utility bills.

The Council Agendas and Council Minutes pages offer complete information regarding Council meetings.

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Contact: Lenka Wright, Chief Communications Officer
Phone: 425-452-4090
E-mail: lwright@bellevuewa.gov

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