There Goes the Neighborhood

The image on the right (oops, technical difficulties) is of Shane Schrodt fixing up one of his Highland Avenue properties. The shot was taken in April 2003 for a story written by Eric D. Williams. In the story, Schrodt gets lots of credit from the late Ed Rollman.

“Boy we’re glad to have him in this neighborhood,” said Rollman, who attended West Bremerton High around the same time as Schrodt. “In the past, we’ve had homes in disrepair that hadn’t been treated real well. But he’s fixed them up and changed our neighborhood for the better.”

Now, however, neighbors are hoping the Bremerton City Council will send its decision to allow Schrodt and others in the area to build condos up to 60 feet high back to the Planning Commission. The neighbors want the heights limited to 40 feet. So now, three years later, the same people who were credited with helping vastly improve the neighborhood are being accused of planning to ruin it.
The arguments are the same as those heard in city halls across America. Cities plan for improvements. Often those plans threaten to change the way of life for those nearby and the battle begins.
An outsider who isn’t vested in the outcome can surely sympathize with both sides in this issue.
I plan to go into more detail on this neighborhood soon.
But based on the little you know, who do you think is right on this specifically or in this kind of question in general?

2 thoughts on “There Goes the Neighborhood

  1. I own 952 Washington Avenue on the waterfront near the Manette Bridge. My wife and I bought our house in 2002 on speculation that downtown revitalization would actually manifest. Our purchase was not real estate speculation, but rather a gamble on Bremerton providing a good quality of life for us to raise our child. In 2002 I watched a drug dealer operate every day from a waterfront section-eight house near mine. This drug dealer had one of the best views imaginable from his apartment. At the time I feared my gamble on Bremerton was foolish. But Mayor Bozemen’s leadership is succeeding, and the scales have tipped in favor of Bremerton. We currently live in New York City with plans to remodel our Bremerton house before returning in two years.

    60’ height restriction is reasonable:

    I am in favor of 60’ buildings in this neighborhood. Bremerton’s housing stock is severely outdated, most of it having been build for the swell of shipyard workers during W.W.II In most cases it is not cost effective to restore or retrofit poorly designed and built structures. They have to be torn down to make room for some mid to high priced units. Currently there is no adequate housing available in this neighborhood for incoming professionals. Middle to high income earners are the last missing component our revitalization, and our infill potential is small. We are talking about just a few lots that could make or break downtown. So let investors build up 60’ feet. Everyday I walk among 60’ foot buildings in the suburbs of NYC and while some are monstrosities, others are true gems .

    The height of a building has less effect on a neighborhood than the quality and design of the building. Even a 40 foot building could damage our neighborhood if not built with sensitivity towards neighborhood integrity. Our goal should be well designed, well built buildings for mid to high income earners. That is the void we need to fill. Bremerton’s history has delivered cheaply built, poorly designed structures to house low to moderated income workers. The few nice historic homes, mostly on Highland Avenue, are a small minority and can not alone sustain the retail core we are trying to generate downtown. I could not recommend this neighborhood to my professional friends because there are no satisfactory units available. The more investment in quality housing we can get, the better our chances of success as community. Let us not stall and stagnate based on the minority opinion of a couple well positioned Highland Ave residents.

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