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10 June 2007 @ 04:44 pm
Seattle Times: Highlands residents to get say in upgrade  
Sunday, June 10, 2007

Highlands residents to get say in upgrade
By Karen Johnson

Times Southeast Bureau

How do you revitalize a neighborhood? That's what Renton city leaders will ask residents of the Highlands neighborhood during the second phase of a task force that will launch as early as this fall.

Last month, the city passed a zoning measure to expand density in the mostly residential neighborhood. The final decision came after a year of heated discussions between residents and city officials.

Dubbed the Highlands Task Force, the panel was formed to encourage community members to voice concerns about revitalization in the mostly low-income and working-class neighborhood.

In meetings last year, some residents accused the city of moving too quickly to upgrade outdated public housing and neighborhood services.

"We want to have a dialogue about what the neighborhood can and should become," said Alex Pietsch, director of economic development for the city.

The council is accepting applications from community members until Friday. Ten to 15 landowners, renters, business owners and churches will be selected to represent the community. The Renton School District and the Renton Housing Authority also will participate.

The committee comes after the city was criticized last year for not doing enough to engage residents, City Councilman Randy Corman said. A similar task force was formed last year to address rezoning in the aging neighborhood.

With sweeping views of the Cascade Mountains to the east and Mount Rainier to the south, the Highlands neighborhood has received increased attention from developers and investors.

The task force will recommend ways to use $1.5 million the city set aside to update parks, sidewalks and safety features in the neighborhood. The group also will provide information about city plans to expand libraries, trails and transportation.

Recommendations from the task force will be considered by the city's Planning and Development Committee next year.

(Anonymous) on March 5th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
Renton Highlands Meeting 2/28/2008

INteresting. The attendees were given papers/ suggestions to fill out at this meeting. However Ms Konklin require that these be returned by March 6th 2008.

I would suggest that this is little time to both consider carefully what is important and to discover what is needed. This time frame for residents to participate is inadequate. Should she be more liberal with this time frame?

I wonder if this is the Next year meeting that Randy had mentioned in this article.