With the beginning of a new year, the city of Bellevue is continuing its Neighborhood Enhancement Program in 2019 with the Downtown, BelRed and Lake Hills neighborhoods.
The city of Bellevue announced the first kickoff meeting for the Downtown and BelRed neighborhoods will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Jan. 29 at City Hall. Residents can share their ideas and suggestions for enhancement projects in the area. The kickoff meeting for Lake Hills will be held in April.
The Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP) is the city of Bellevue’s annual neighborhood planning series where residents can propose and select enhancement projects for their area. The program began in 1988 and ran until 2008. It was brought back in 2015 with $5 million in funding for all 14 of the city neighborhoods.
Each year, two of the 14 neighborhood areas are selected to participate in the program and the city works through each neighborhood before starting the loop again. Theresa Cuthill, NEP coordinator for the city of Bellevue, said the current cycle is the first time the areas of Downtown and BelRed will engage in the NEP, due to the amount of residents in each area now.
Downtown Bellevue and BelRed are considered one area this year, and Lake Hills is the other selected neighborhood. Residents submit project ideas and vote on which of those ideas they want to make happen. Eventually one or two projects are selected that meet the funding level for that area. Every household, apartment and condo unit receives a ballot and can vote for their preferred projects.
Cuthill said that in 2017, the Bridle Trails neighborhood had 124 project ideas which were then voted down to 29 projects, and three were ultimately selected to be funded.
Of the $5 million allocated for the NEP, the Downtown and BelRed area will receive $491,000 in funding for projects and Lake Hills will receive $508,000. Funding is based on the number of households in each area.
After the Kickoff meeting on Jan. 29, idea solicitation will be open until March 12. From March until May, the city will conduct project scoping, and the ballot projects will be announced with an open house event in mid-June. Voting will take place during the summer and the winning projects will be announced in September.