Bellevue, also known as “a city within a park,” is the fifth largest city in Washington State, with a population of 122,000+ residents. The city’s population is both increasing and becoming more diverse. According to census data, 41% of Bellevue’s population was made up of minority residents in 2010. Money Magazine included Bellevue in their “100 Best Places to Live” list in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
Bellevue is the Eastside’s high-tech and retail hub; it’s business roster includes Microsoft, PACCAR, Expdedia and Puget Sound Energy. More than 140,000 jobs are located in Bellevue, which means that more people work within the city than reside in it. In 2008, Fortune Small Business Magazine rated Bellevue as the #1 city to live and start a business in. Its skyline is graced with gleaming high-rises. Bellevue’s downtown core provides office space for thousands of professionals as well as condominiums and apartments for people who want to live in an urban setting.
While downtown is bustling with business, the city of Bellevue also retains a small-town ambiance. Thriving neighborhoods with healthy green belts, a vast network of green spaces, along with many recreational facilities available within the city, highlights the beautiful attributes of the Pacific Northwest. In fact, every year since 1992, The National Arbor Day Foundation has named Bellevue a “Tree City.” Bellevue covers 31+ square miles between Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish. The city is also short drive from the Cascade Mountains.
Bellevue’s schools are consistently rated among the best in the country. Student enrollment is approximately 18,000 students. Curriculum is connected across grade levels, and is anchored to Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses at the high school level. College Prep is the default track for Bellevue School District and in September 2011, forty-five students from the Bellevue School District were named semi-finalists for the prestigious National Merit Scholarship. More than 50 different languages are now spoken by Bellevue’s students. In 2011, Bellevue was included again in America’s Promise Alliance’s Top 100 Best Communities for Young People List.
The city of Medina, located on the shores of Lake Washington, is a diminutive city with a rich history. It’s a Washington State city that is internationally recognized thanks to high-profile residents Bill and Melinda Gates of Microsoft fame, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and Seattle Mariner player Ichiro Suzuki.
The area was originally settled for agriculture and homesteading purposes. When it was being settled, Medina was referred to as the “Points Country.” Dabney Point, which is directly across Lake Washington from the Leschi Park Landing, was the main landing settlers used to travel to and from Points Country. T.L. Dabney, who built the landing at his namesake Point, participated in the community naming feud early in Medina’s history. Dabney thought the areas should be named “Floridine,” however the community appointed naming committee picked the name “Medeena.” One morning, Dabney erected a large sign next to his landing which read “Floridine.” However, when he arrived back at the landing in the evening, after working in Seattle, the ladies of the naming committee had replaced his sign with their own—which read “Medeena.” Of course, he promptly replaced that sign with his own, as he did for several days after the initial sign swap. As we can see, the persistence of the naming committee paid off and Medina was born.
Medina’s settlers grew produce for a living or commuted to Seattle by boat. Much of the produce was shipped over the lake to Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Today, Medina is a residential community of 2,970 residents. Instead of commuting to Seattle or the Eastside by boat, Medina residents travel 520 on the Evergreen Floating Bridge, the longest floating bridge in the world. The whole city is a total of 4.8 square miles, 1.4 square miles which is land and 3.3 square miles is water. The per-capta income of Medina is the 3rd highest in Washington State and the 49th highest in the U.S.
Because of its size, the city is part of the Bellevue School District. The only public school located n the city limits is Medina Elementary School, for grades K-5th grade. Two private schools are in Medina, Bellevue Christian School (K-6th) and Saint Thomas School (pre-K to 8th).
The Medina Grocery, on the corner of Evergreen and NE 8th St was re-built to match the store that stood in the same spot for almost 100 years. It gives visitors and residents alike a glimpse into the small town history of Medina and is one of the few businesses located within the city limits. Residential to its core now, Medina is a city that offers security and sanctuary, along with lakeside Pacific Northwest beauty, to its residents.