City has good pool of candidates for downtown residents association

Getting membership for a Downtown Bellevue Residents Association won't be a problem as Thursday's kick-off meeting included a packed crowd with plenty of ideas on how to  make downtown a better place to live.

Downtown Bellevue boasts 10,500 residents, 43,300 jobs, more than 40 high-rises and 4.5 million square feet of retail space. By 2030, the city projects an additional 27,000 jobs will be created there and a population growth of 8,500.

"We still have about halfway to go," said Emil King, strategic planning manager, about building downtown.

For Arlene Alton, a resident of the Pacific Regent Bellevue retirement home, she wants to make sure green spaces, such as Ashwood Park, don't disappear in the development race downtown.

Several participants said they wanted the design for downtown to have a greater focus on accommodating pedestrian traffic. One resident said he's bothered by a lack of street parking, which discourages friends from visiting him. Another called for a downtown fire station.

From the strong crowd at Thursday's meeting a smaller group will form as official neighborhood association members in February and receive training to run the organization in April.

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