Issaquah Mayor Delivers State of the City Address at IHS

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Issaquah Mayor Delivers State of the City Address at IHS

Sophie Kirkegaard, Editor in Chief

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Issaquah Mayor Mary Lou Pauly delivered her annual State of the City Address Thurs. Feb. 7, speaking at Issaquah High School’s Doug Longman Theater. Traditionally taking place at a city council meeting, Pauly’s decision to deliver her speech at Issaquah High School highlighted her emphasis on the big changes Issaquah will soon be facing, and how it will affect future residents. As explained by Pauly, “What better way than to talk about our city’s future than with those who are the future?”

Pauly’s speech outlined a variety of topics, primarily focusing on the rapid population growth Issaquah has faced in the past few decades, and the changes that our city has faced to accommodate new residents. Touching on ideas for affordable housing and improved transportation infrastructure, Pauly outlined future plans for urban housing units and roadways that would better support Issaquah’s growing population. Aside from explaining the need to further develop the city, Pauly also stressed the importance of land preservation, highlighting the newly approved Bergsma parcel in which 44 acres of land was purchased by the city of Issaquah to be kept as designated open space, saving it from residential development. Summarizing the accomplishments of the past year, Pauly highlighted improvements made to Southeast 62nd Street, a $44 million project that upgraded new sidewalks, bike lanes, curbs, and street lights, as well as created two new roundabouts in attempt to relieve traffic. As for 2019, Pauly touched on the expansion of Costco’s national headquarters located in Pickering Place, a project that will create over 1.2 million square feet of office and parking space, as well as the construction of a new middle school in Talus, having the ability to serve roughly 900 students.

Finishing her speech, Pauly gave students the opportunity to ask questions which ranged from issues such as overcrowding in schools and traffic, to homelessness, all of which seemed to have no simple solution. In particular, when asked about the issue of the Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club being in close proximity to both Issaquah High School and Issaquah Middle School, Pauly expressed her inability to change this, as it is outside of the city of Issaquah. “Going to school now is much different than it was 25 years ago,” explained Pauly. “It’s important to continue dialogue with [the Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club] and continue the good relationship that we have with them.”

Overall, as the city continues to grow and develop, it is clear that Pauly is determined to preserve the natural and historical features of Issaquah, while at the same time support a larger population. And with her proposed projects, Pauly’s address depicted a positive and exciting future for Issaquah, one which will be able to accommodate many more families to come.