Jennifer Ewing, Environmental Stewardship Program Manager for Bellevue, WA shares their STAR story.
The City of Bellevue, WA received a 4-STAR Community Rating earlier this spring. The City decided to pursue STAR certification for multiple reasons – to benchmark the City’s progress and identify opportunities for improvement in our environmental sustainability programs, along with our other projects.
Through the STAR certification process, we learned that in some areas the City is greatly exceeding STAR’s outcome measure benchmarks and trendline targets, such as with access to parks and park acreage per capita in the Built Environment goal area. In other areas in which we expected to score highly, such as education, the City didn’t achieve all of the points because we have some work to do to close our achievement gap.
Since achieving our STAR certification, the Office of Environmental Stewardship has published a STAR results report, which outlines the City’s performance and identifies gaps to address. We are starting to work on updating our Environmental Stewardship Strategic Plan, and are using STAR to identify areas for improvement and best practices in topics the City has yet to address, such as environmental justice. We are also planning on using the results from STAR in an upcoming neighborhood planning initiative, by creating online storymaps for residents to learn more about their neighborhood.
Moving forward, the City hopes STAR will help to catalyze more actions as we update our Environmental Stewardship Strategic Plan, and use the results to inform the work of our Diversity Initiative.