Wednesday night the Poulsbo City Council will vote on whether to issue the last phase of bonds to help pay for the new city hall. Assuming the vote is in the affirmative and the project continues forward, it might be high time to start thinking about another aspect of this project that has largely been off the radar.
What to do with Poulsbo City Hall? No, I don’t mean the new one. The old one. Also on Wednesday, the council will address that issue. Part of the financing package for the new building includes selling the land where the current city hall resides.
I’ve floated this idea to a few folks and haven’t gotten any crazy looks, so I’ll take that as a sign I’m on the right track. Bear with me:
Almost all of the discussion thus far has been about cost and location of the new building. But I think the back end of this project will have a much greater effect on the average Poulsbo resident or downtown visitor. This isn’t me discounting the importance of the fact that it’s the most expensive municipal building project in the city’s history, but I think people will experience the change more profoundly when something new goes in the current city hall pad.
It’s a large piece of property, right smack dab in the middle of downtown. Combine that with an entire block for sale just a stone’s throw away (Not city owned), and you’ve got major potential to dramatically change the way downtown Poulsbo looks, feels and functions. Condos? New retail? Tall buildings? Hotels? Conference centers? Who knows?
As for the city’s land, it brings up the question of how much it can or wants to direct the sale. Because the city has prime land in the heart of downtown, I can see how some might want to guide the sale toward an element the city feels will benefit downtown. But constricting the uses to what you might desire could, in theory, lead to a lower sale price. What happens if the city sells the land without any caveats, and someone buys and develops something that doesn’t necessarily conform to what politicians and/or locals want to see downtown?
Interesting questions, I think.
What would you like to see happen with the current city hall property on Jensen? Discuss.
– Derek Sheppard