City of Renton wins two state planning awards

Awards recognize work by city staff to create a high quality community

  • Sunday, August 12, 2018 10:30am
  • Life

From the city of Renton:

The City of Renton has won two state awards for civic planning projects: a seventh consecutive Governor’s Smart Communities Award for the Sartori Elementary School project and an Outstanding Contributions for Comprehensive Planning Award for the downtown Civic Core plan.

“These awards are a testament to the vision our staff has for transforming Renton’s downtown into a vibrant urban area and for their hard work in bringing these plans to fruition,” said Mayor Denis Law. “We are very much on our way to achieving our goal of an urban downtown Renton where people come to live, work, learn, play and visit.”

The city and Renton School District were honored with Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s Smart Communities Award for the thorough design and public input process conducted as part of the Sartori Elementary School project in downtown Renton. The project aligns with both the city’s 2011 City Center Master Plan and 2015 Renton Comprehensive Plan.

The school design and concept will serve as a model for campus development in an urban setting. Its vertical design creates open space for students and allows the site to host community events during non-school hours. The one-square block site houses a three-story classroom building, hard and soft surface play areas, grass playfield, extensive landscaping, and parking for approximately 80 cars.

There is a 900-square-foot multipurpose resource room, which the public can use for adult classes and community gatherings, and a 10,000-square-foot exterior plaza. The plaza is designed to be the heart of the campus and host community programming.

Scheduled to open this fall, the school will initially serve 650 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. It is designed to meet the district’s 10-year growth projections and is the first elementary school built in downtown Renton in almost a century.

“The Sartori project will have a significant positive impact on the downtown area,” said Mayor Law. “It’s a prime example of how to turn an under-used area into a valuable community asset.”

“The Sartori design builds upon the image of Renton as a truly urban mixed-use and walkable environment that contributes to livability in the heart of the city,” said John Flanagan, Transportation and Economic Development advisor to Gov. Inslee, and member of the review committee. “It contains all the attributes that help our state attract top talent and businesses from around the world.”

Renton is the first community in Washington to win seven Smart Communities Awards and also the first to win seven consecutively, in competition with cities throughout the state. The city was previously honored for the Galvanizing Art Projects program (2017), Downtown Renton Library remodel (2016), Kirkland Avenue Townhomes Project (2015), Meadow Crest Early Learning Center and Meadow Crest Accessible Playground (2014), Sunset Area Community Plan (2013), City Center Community Plan and 20-Year Parks Plan (2012).

The Washington Chapter of the American Planning Association and the Planning Association of Washington honored the city with their Outstanding Contributions for Comprehensive Planning award for their work on the Downtown Civic Core Vision and Action Plan.

“The Civic Core Vision and Action Plan is about the future, and our desire to create excitement and energy,” said Mayor Law. “It builds on what’s already happening in the community and strengthens the bonds between organizations that will make it happen. What’s really special is this award reflects the effort of many members of our community who were involved in the visioning process.”

The plan is the city’s innovative response to the request for a community-supported vision that builds upon Downtown Renton’s many existing assets. The city utilized an extensive community input process, including a range of interactive in-person and online events. The result is an integrated approach designed to leverage existing projects with community energy to create dynamic spaces for people to gather, safe streets for all modes of transportation, and a bustling business environment.

“The awards committee was impressed with a number of parts of the plan,” said committee chairman Lloyd Skinner. “It integrated community values, addressed the use of public spaces and transportation, celebrated Renton’s racial diversity, and utilized input from the community. It definitely rose to the top of our most competitive division (communities with populations over 50,000).”

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