Renton Earns Governor’s Award for Mixed-Use Neighborhood Plan

‘Smart Vision Award’ Recognizes Rainier/Grady Junction Plan

Renton has earned its ninth Governor’s Smart Communities Award, a statewide program that recognizes local governments for implementing the state’s Growth Management Act. 

This year, Renton received the program’s Smart Vision Award for the Rainier/Grady Junction Transit-Oriented Development Subarea Plan. 

The Rainier/Grady Junction plan calls for a people-focused, mixed-use neighborhood around Sound Transit’s expanded Bus Rapid Transit services. As part of the plan, the Renton transit center will relocate from downtown to the intersection of Rainier Ave S. and SW Grady Way, the former site of the Sound Ford car dealership. The facility is expected to be a transit hub for South King County.

The state Department of Commerce named eight cities as Smart Communities Award winners for 2022. Each year the program honors local governments for their efforts to shape future growth, economic vitality and quality of life.

Since the Smart Communities Award program started in 2006, Renton has earned the award for:

  • City Center Community Plan and the 20-year Parks Plan
  • Sunset Area Community Plan
  • Meadow Crest Early Learning Center and accessible playground
  • Kirkland Avenue Townhomes
  • Downtown Renton library
  • Galvanizing Art Project
  • Sartori Elementary School
  • Willowcrest Townhomes

The Smart Communities Award program accepts nominations for local governments in seven categories, including comprehensive plans for economic growth, housing, community equity, climate impacts, long-term success and more.

In its application, the City of Renton suggested the Rainier/Grady Junction subarea plan could be a model for other municipalities. The plan focuses on a specific area and addresses transit, new housing, open space and commercial options.

The subarea plan also calls for an Environmental Impact Statement, developed using other state grant funds. The EIS will help accelerate public and private investment to bring the subarea plan to fruition.

The Rainier/Grady Junction plan also fulfills goals of the city’s Comprehensive Plan related to residential growth, supporting transit and encouraging healthy communities through mixed-use areas.

During the planning process, the city conducted online workgroups that included neighborhood association representatives, property owners, business operators, transit representatives and local service providers.

The Renton City Council adopted the Rainier/Grady Junction plan in November 2021. Learn more about the project here.