Taholah was one of the top honorees last week when Gov. Jay Inslee announced winners of the 2018 Smart Communities Awards.
Now in its 13th year, the program recognizes achievements by local leaders who promote smart growth planning and projects that “contribute to thriving communities, a prosperous economy, and sustainable infrastructure in Washington state.”
This year’s honorees include the first tribal project nominated for an award — the Quinault Indian Nation project to move the village of Taholah to higher ground safe from tsunamis and storm damage.
The Taholah Village Relocation Master Plan was honored with the Judges Merit Award as being “unique” and “exceedingly thorough and well thought out.” The Merit Award is given to the nomination judged to be a “model or shining example” of the best work in a particular topic.
“It was a heavy lift to plan for the relocation of an entire village in a way that is culturally sensitive and focuses on the effects of climate change. The incorporation of chapters addressing resilience to disaster and sustainability planning is in line with the Governor’s Resilient Washington State Subcabinet goals, and demonstrates quality design and sustainability principles,” said the judges who made the selections.
Bringing in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to provide outside expertise “was very clever and extraordinary because Taholah is a small … planning community. They clearly built it as an impressive model for other communities to use.”
In a statement addressing all the award winners, Gov. Insleee said: “Outstanding local collaboration is key to creating sustainable communities with a shared vision for their future growth and prosperity. These community projects demonstrate why Washington is such a special place to live, work and play.”
Other 2018 Governor’s Smart Communities Award winners:
Smart Vision Award for comprehensive planning
— Town of Twisp. Economic Revitalization Master Plan, developed in partnership with community groups to identify barriers to business vitality, focused especially on the downtown area.
— City of Ellensburg. Housing Element of the 2017 Ellensburg Comprehensive Plan is a model for effecting meaningful change in a community. .
Smart Choices Award for implementation of a comprehensive plan
— City of Kent. “Meet Me on Meeker” Meeker Street Streetscape Design and Construction study of the Meeker corridor resulted in a multimodal promenade concept that is a tangible engineering standard for private development.
Smart Projects Award for a project implementing a comprehensive plan
— Skagit County. Community Justice Center Brownfield Redevelopment demonstrates a strong understanding of the value of productive farmland and encouraging reuse of underutilized properties rather than expansion into undeveloped lands.
— City of Renton. The new downtown Sartori Elementary School is located in a designated Regional Growth Center, where it will serve 650 students and meet projected growth over the next 10 years.
Smart Partnership Award for a joint public project implementing a comprehensive plan
— City of Kennewick and partners. Vista Field Redevelopment Master Plan 2017. Working in partnership with the Port of Kennewick and Benton County, Kennewick sought to create a redevelopment plan for the recently decommissioned 103-acre airport, located at the core of the city.
— City of Spokane and partners. Developed in partnership with the Spokane Regional Health District, Community Frameworks, East Spokane Business Association, and other partners, the East Sprague Targeted Investment Pilot Initiative is a targeted investment initiative for housing, public infrastructure and safety, leading to increased private investment and measurable long-term vitality.