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The Municipal Excellence Awards are sponsored by the Association of Washington Cities to recognize innovative city projects that significantly improve the quality of life for their communities. Breezeway Park was awarded for creatively addressing safety issues in a congested downtown intersection by expanding the sidewalk area into the street, reducing crosswalk distances, and improving sight lines for both drivers and pedestrians. The park also addressed the need for public amenities to serve the growing volume of visitors by providing much needed seating, a wide sidewalk area for gathering, custom public art, greenery, and additional ADA-accessible parking.
According to Town Administrator Duncan Wilson, the pocket park project was also the first step in implementing the Sunshine Alley redevelopment plan. "In addition to solving some safety issues, the Town saw this project as an opportunity to highlight one of the three entrances to Sunshine Alley," said Wilson.
In addition to the Small City Success category, cities compete for Municipal Excellence Awards for community engagement, economic development, public safety, and addressing homelessness, affordable housing, and mental health issues. The competition is open to any Washington city or town. Breezeway Park opened in May 2017.