& Big Ideas
The vision statement retains many of the same themes as the existing vision statement but adds more connection to the planning priorities identified during the update process and desired outcomes. The ten “big ideas” reflect community priorities for the next 20 years and are addressed in specific plan elements.
People love Airway Heights as a great place to live, work, and visit for its small-town feel, inclusivity, and strong community connections. Airway Heights is compact and walkable community with different types of housing, employment, parks and open space, and local businesses all within a short-distance and designed at a human scale. Airway heights continues to plan for growth in housing and jobs along with the infrastructure and amenities to maintain and improve life in Airway Heights. In Airway Heights:
Many people establish roots, know their neighbors, and support the community.
Families are attracted to the community for the housing, schools, local businesses, parks and amenities that create a high-quality of life.
Multi-generational housing is integrated into neighborhoods that are beloved by all.
People like being able to walk and bike on the sidewalks and bike facilities for recreation, to destinations such as local businesses, schools, parks, trails, but also as a way to see their friends and neighbors.
Highway 2 is the gateway to Airway Heights and has been shaped by the community to reflect the desired local identity.
The Downtown is beloved as a place people can walk or bike from their neighborhood for socializing, shopping, local services, civic services, and arts and cultural events.
10 Big Ideas for 2024
The following ‘big ideas” reflect community priorities during the 20-year planning period.
1. Plan for a community where people can afford to live and work
Airway Heights is one of the fastest growing communities in Washington State and is adding both housing and jobs. To be a full-service community and provide a high quality of life and work/life balance people should have the opportunity to both work and live in Airway Heights with housing costs in alignment with local wages.
2. Plan for a walkable and bikeable community
Sidewalks and bike facilities are a high priority for the Airway Heights Community. Airway Heights benefits from a compact size and established grid system that make the City very walkable. However, as Airway Heights grows there is a need to improve connections and expand the system of sidewalks, bike facilities and trails.
3. Plan for full-service neighborhoods with access to goods and services near residential neighborhoods
Most of the local retail and services in Airway Heights are concentrated along Highway 2. Residential development is expanding primarily north of Highway 2 due to limitations on residential development in proximity to Fairchild Airforce Base. Expanding neighborhood commercial opportunities in association with residential development will reinforce Airway Heights as a walkable community with easy access to goods, services, parks, and arts and cultural events which all should be embedded within neighborhoods.
4. Implement plans for the Downtown
The City recently adopted a new plan for Downtown and implementing the plan is a high priority for the community. Implementation includes both public and private investments in streets, new mixed-use development, and potentially public facilities.
5. Provide more variety in housing types to support a multi-generational and affordable community
Airway Heights would benefit from a greater variety of housing types beyond single-family, duplexes, and apartments that currently make up the majority of housing in the City. Often referred to as “missing middle” housing, the City should expand opportunities for other types of housing such as townhouses, cottage housing, courtyard apartments, accessory dwelling units, triplexes, and fourplexes.
6. Expand parks, recreation, arts and cultural uses
The City has recently adopted a new Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan and a Public Art Plan. Parks and arts are high priorities for the community and would benefit from policies and strategies in the Comprehensive Plan to support implementation.
7. Monitor growth to understand if the City is accomplishing community goals and priorities
As a fast-growing community the City should monitor implementation of the Comprehensive Plan to ensure that the community vision, big ideas, and goals are being accomplished. The City will also be required to submit a report on growth and progress towards achieving housing and affordability goals five years after adoption of the next periodic plan update in 2026. However, the City should put in place procedures to track and report on growth in the near term.
8. Maintain and expand access to high-quality education in Airway heights
Airway Heights is served by the Cheney School District with a local elementary school in Airway Heights and middle and high schools are located in Cheney. As the City grows there may be the need for more schools within the City of Airway Heights that the City should plan for.
9. Transform Highway 2 to be attractive and reflect the priorities for Airway Heights
Highway 2 is the first thing that most people experience when they arrive in Airway Heights and is also the location of the City’s Downtown and primary commercial areas. The City has extensive plans to retrofit Highway 2 to make it more pedestrian friendly and improve the aesthetics.
10. Plan, build and maintain infrastructure and municipal facilities in the City necessary to support the City’s Comprehensive Plan
As a fast-growing community Airway Heights will need to invest in infrastructure to maintain and improve the quality of life. The City is considering a new municipal complex and is planning for a new municipal well to provide water service along with several other capital projects.