The eastern Pierce County community of Wilkeson has received a 2013 Smart Communities award for smart growth planning and contributing to the state’s quality of life.

Specifically, Wilkeson was recognized for its Rural Town Center Corridor Plan, which provides a comprehensive transportation system along SR 165 through the town. The state highway also serves as “main street” for this town, which is a living example of the historic coal towns that once boomed in the area.

“While the corridor plan addresses transportation needs through the Town Center, we were also able to incorporate other elements important to our community,” said Wilkeson Mayor Donna Hogerhuis. “These include preservation of our Town’s heritage, improving safety for children walking to school, providing public access to Wilkeson Creek, creating a continuous pedestrian and bicycle pathway through town, as well as supporting economic development by providing better access, parking and circulation for our Town Center business area.”

The plan, recently completed by SCJ Alliance, involved extensive public outreach, close coordination with local businesses and National Park Service, and refinement of many concepts. Project partner RWD Landscape Architect PS created before/after renderings which brought the project to life for citizens and stimulated public participation at open houses, community gathering and council meetings.