Bellevue council approves new goals to develop the local business community

The Bellevue City Council approved updates for their economic development plan.

The Bellevue City Council approved updates for its economic development plan and received a presentation on about input and authority as part of “Eastrail,” the newly rebranded Eastside Rail Corridor, at a July 22 extended study session.

The city’s economic development plan aims to attract a range of businesses, from high-tech companies, to small, local businesses. The plan was adopted in 2014 and has been a guiding document for how the city interacts with businesses.

The council approved new objectives for the plan recommended by staff based on what the city has learned in its economic development efforts over the past five years. Some of the new objectives include new opportunities to support small businesses from diverse backgrounds, integrating new businesses into the local community, work on partnerships with other organizations to provide a higher level of service for small businesses, and supporting creative elements of the city such as arts and culture.

According to the staff report, the plan will prioritize implementing the goals by specifically identifying actions that can be taken to push the goals forward.

With the objectives approved by council, the next step will be for strategies to be developed and approved, as well as public engagements with stakeholders on how they want to see the goals come to fruition. Later this year staff will continue work on data gathering and analysis before engaging with local stakeholders in the business community. Council feedback on the draft plan is expected early next year and adoption of the plan is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2020.

The council was also updated on the progress of the Eastrail trail system — previously known as the Eastside Rail Corridor — a 42-mile trail system connecting Renton, Bellevue, Kirkland and Woodinville.

The next Eastrail related project is a design for a pedestrian-bicycle bridge that will cross Northeast 8th Street, a location close to the upcoming Wilburton light rail station. The bridge project will cost about $19 million and is slated for completion in 2022.

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