Leavenworth is at work on a new initiative: Imagine 2075.

Once upon a time, this picaresque village of 2,200 was in seemingly irreversible decline. The timber industry had cratered, leaving Leavenworth rudderless. But thanks to a massive revitalization effort called Project LIFE (Leavenworth Improved for Everyone), the town was born anew.

Leavenworth evolved to become a major tourism hub, noted for its bubbly, Bavarian-themed downtown and peerless natural beauty. Last month, we reported on a MarketBeat.com survey heralding the town as Washington's foremost retirement destination.

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But is Leavenworth too successful for its own good? Mayor Carl Florea thinks so.

"If you're always dependent on huge growth and huge numbers, that's not a sustainable model in my mind," Florea says. "What you need to do is expand your offerings."

Diversification is just one goal of Project 2075.

Florea has been mayor for five years. He was elected partly on a promise to make Leavenworth palatable for middle-income people, renters and first-time homebuyers.

He has his work cut out for him. Leavenworth is in danger of becoming a playground for posh urbanites. The cost of living is already morbidly high; that's why Florea is eyeing a systematic overhaul of housing regulation.

"We're trying to allow smaller lots and get more housing upon smaller lots to address a huge housing need and crisis," Florea says. "We need housing of all types, but particularly homes at below-the-market rates."

As part of Project 2075, there will be a handful of "brainstorming" sessions. These take place at Leavenworth Festhalle in early-to-mid September.

Click here to read about the nuts and bolts of the project.

Leavenworth: North Central Washington's Alpine Village

Ranked as one of the best places in the country to spend Christmas

Gallery Credit: Mark Rattner with KPQ Newsradio 560

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