This Waterfront Is A Contender

Photo: Kristine Paulsen / Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The P-I ran a preview for next month’s Urban Waterfront Revitalization Conference on Thursday.

(For more on the convention that promises to draw officials near and far by the ferry-load to discuss developing waterfronts for residential use, click here.)

Not surprisingly, the photo accompanying the story was of Harborside Fountain Park. The photo looks similar to a photo the P-I ran in a story on Bremerton in June.

The P-I’s story met with approval from the city’s public relations firm. In an e-mail to Mayor Cary Bozeman, Bill Virgin’s story “hits all the right notes,” one of the city’s hired media men wrote, and suggested the city post a link on its Web site

Mayor Cary Bozeman hopes that the conference will become an annual event for economic development professionals to gather. And he hopes Bremerton will become the poster child for smart, sustainable shoreline development.

In his piece, Virgin brushes up against the question that interests me most about waterfront development. It used to be waterfronts were known for shipping and receiving and producing useful things. So what changed? Does it have something to do with globalization, the loss of manufacturing and industrial jobs and narrowing the U.S. economy into management and service industry jobs? Or have advances in technology reduced the need for industry to hog shorelines? Has disappearing waterfront industry pushed this interest in redeveloping waterfronts for residential and recreational purposes? We still need to import our Hannah Montana-brand home pregnancy tests and American flag lapel pins from places like China, and occasionally export a few things, and waterfronts would serve that purpose well. Is this push to make waterfronts “people friendly” a signal for some kind of larger economic shift in this country?

These questions may have already been answered, and I just wasn’t paying attention.

8 thoughts on “This Waterfront Is A Contender

  1. “…Is this push to make waterfronts “people friendly” a signal for some kind of larger economic shift in this country?…”

    Not that Bremerton apparently notices… else why would the mayor and city council not only encourage condos to hog up the waterfront along Washington St downtown Bremerton – what is “people friendly” about filling the waterfront with condos…housing for only a few? What about the rest of Bremerton’s taxpayers?

    There is nothing user friendly – people friendly – about blocking the waterfront (view as well as access) to a select few and limiting the taxpayers to the gorgeous Bremerton Waterfront Park…or limited access to parks in general.

    The irony here is what the city is attempting to do to Manette… their poster ‘child’ for innovative community neighborhoods.
    Without notice they have decided five story condo/condos would be acceptable for Manette’s waterfront!

    The ‘reasoning’ is that few people apparently show up for meetings to discuss where they want Manette to ‘go’. Please!

    Families are working, sometimes two jobs to keep their heads above water…and Bremerton’s Mayor and government expect them to take ‘family’ time to attend boring meetings. Why should they when Bremerton has incredible leadership and talent for innovative ideas put into action?

    Why hasn’t the city put their meetings online for the citizens to give their reasoned input amidst their family home time? Of all places to care, the fledgling community neighborhood of Manette has over and over again demonstrated leadership and a neighborly bonding for a common cause.

    Five story condo’s aren’t likely to fit into the mold for Manette residents.
    Why would they want their waterfront taken away and blocked from view?
    Why would the residents of any town wish such a thing? I don’t know either.
    Sharon O’Hara

  2. Sharon-

    1) One key to successful revitalization is the addition of residents into a downtown core to create a vibrant mixed-use community. (In case you were wondering, mixed-use means private business, public services, parks, and residents all sharing the same area.) The former parking lots did not accomplish this, and without condos being constructed, it is likely the revitalization would fail.

    2) The original plan was to put one taller (and narrower) building on the lots where the two Harborside condos currently reside. However, the city did not approve, and thus two shorter buildings were approved and constructed. This resulted in more of your view being “blocked.”

    3) On many occasions you complain about your precious “view” being taken away, and this leads me to wonder if you have ever visited downtown since the new millennium. I’m assuming you haven’t, because that explains why you would not be aware of the boardwalk that is not only on the waterfront, but actually is *over the water.* That also explains how you missed the *public trail* and small park right in front of the Harborside Condos as well. This area is for the *whole community* to enjoy. It seems that what you really care about is that they blocked your view from the road when driving off of the ferry.

    4) You also call condos “not people friendly… housing only for a few.” I’m curious about what can be more people friendly than a place for people… to live? Perhaps you want small apartments are akin to the public housing of old along the waterfront? That would be housing for more, but not exactly “people friendly.”

    5) As for your continuing issue of access to citizens along the waterfront, you don’t seem to realize that one can walk along the marina breakwater, along the boardwalk, along the Harborside conference center walkway, and even to the Harborside Park.

    6) It seems that you want every inch of water view properties to be single-family homes or parks. And knowing the geography of Puget Sound, I believe you want the entire Kitsap area to be one large public park.

    7) So Sharon, in light of these facts, can you please explain this following excerpt from your post:

    “There is nothing user friendly – people friendly – about blocking the waterfront (view as well as access) to a select few and limiting the taxpayers to the gorgeous Bremerton Waterfront Park…or limited access to parks in general.”

    I ask because I have no idea how access is blocked to the waterfront, or how park access is limited in any way…

    Now I might have misinterpreted what you have said in your previous comment–it’s entirely possible that you are complaining about the cost of the Harborside condominiums even if you did not explicitly do so. And that’s understandable. But maybe you missed the 400 next door. They’re more affordable, and further help diversify our community.

    What I see is a city, community renewal agency, and private developers strike a balance between public access and private needs. And while nothing is perfect, what we have now is a lot better than the public access we had even just five years ago.

    In my opinion…

  3. “It used to be waterfronts were known for shipping and receiving and producing useful things. So what changed?”

    Shipping changed. Airlines and modern highways displaced point-to-point passenger ships. Trucks replaced local/regional cargo vessels. Greater space needs for efficient container ship handling made confined downtown docks obsolete.

  4. The fountain park was once a plate metal storage yard. It is not part of the harbor in which ships can land, so it has displaced no shipping. The only shipping east of there along the Bremerton shoreline for the past 50 years has been the ferry docks which, by the way, are still there.

    Most of Bremerton’s shoreline was the butt-ugliest part of town for decades. Making at-grade parking was actually an improvement. The condos are probably the most reasonable way to bring upscale housing downtown. What view do they block? From the parking garage?

    And anyone who thinks Bremerton has become “people friendly” has not tried to use a crosswalk downtown recently.

  5. Personally I wouldn’t let anything block the waterside. Condo’s can be built back from the shoreline allowing the citizens beach access and the condo owners would still have their water view… only more people could enjoy the waterfront. (Cleaned up of course)

  6. Ms. O’Hara,

    You are a very good poster here and I think you’ve been misled a bit. The Manette Business District along E 11th Street is currently going through its Sub-Area Plan. We have not “approved” or “unapproved” anything at this point, as everything is being looked at. This includes everything from doing nothing to allowing taller but thinner buildings. It is a part of any planning process, but nothing so far is decided.

    There are two more workshops for the Manette Sub-Area Plan. I invite you and anyone who is interested in the future of Manette to come to the next one on August 27 at 6pm at the Bremerton Senior Center. Please come with an open mind and tell us what you have to say.

    And even if you’re not interested, please come to ManetteFest on September 6th. Thank You!

  7. Pingback: Us Flag Lapel Pins

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

(Not a trick question) What color is the pink house?