Sustainable Thurston Plan Wins Governor’s Award

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Submitted by Thurston County

sustainable thurstonA special awards ceremony was held in Spokane today for this year’s winners of the Governor’s Smart Communities Awards, which included the Smart Vision Award for Comprehensive Planning given to the Thurston County Sustainable Thurston Vision and Action Plan. The awards ceremony was part of the annual Association of Washington Cities conference.

The Governor’s Smart Communities Awards launched in 2006 and are presented each year to local leaders who promote smart growth planning and projects that contribute to quality of life in Washington. The Sustainable Thurston Vision and Action Plan was developed by the Sustainable Thurston Task Force with support from the Thurston Regional Planning Council.

“Serving on the Sustainable Thurston Task Force affirmed what I’ve long suspected,” said Thurston County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela, who represented the county on the task force. “We must all re-double our efforts and re-think our strategies to achieve a more sustainable community for ourselves and future generations.”

While developing the Sustainable Thurston plan, the task force sought input from thousands of local residents, plus stakeholders and leaders from local governments, businesses and non-profits. The plan includes recommendations on transportation and land use, water quality, health and human series, public safety, and other issues. The goal of the plan is to achieve a community-driven and approved vision for a vibrant, healthy and resilient future in Thurston County. By implementing sustainable practices, the plan is designed to enhance quality of life, foster economic vitality, and protect the environment while balancing our needs today with those of future residents.

“At a meeting earlier this week where we reviewed the county-wide policies first developed in 1992, I was struck by the number of policies and comments that addressed the idea of sustainability, and how today’s sustainability task force has continued to build on that effort. Our region does indeed have a long range, unified vision for sustainable communities and quality of life issues,” said Dennis McVey, Rainier City Council member and member of the Sustainable Thurston Task Force. “I have to thank my fellow task force members, and all of the participants who helped guide us and who had a hand in developing this award-winning plan. They did a great job!”

To learn more about the Sustainable Thurston plan, visit and click on “Sustainable Thurston.” To learn more about the Governor’s Smart Communities Awards and the Smart Commuinities program, visit

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