Mending fences on Main Street

Board members from the Port Orchard Bay Street Association and the newly formed Port Orchard Historic Revitalization Association will meet Tuesday to discuss where their respective goals for Port Orchard’s revitalization overlap and how they can work together for the good of the town.

The relationship between the two organizations got off on the wrong foot after an April 24 meeting of the Port Orchard City Council at which Shannon Childs presented the idea of forming a local affiliate of the national Main Street movement. POBSA president Don Ryan, after the meeting, said he had felt left out of the loop.

You can read the story for details of how things went south. But both Childs and Ryan appear to be focused on moving forward.

Ryan said of an email exchange between himself and Childs, “It’s been very professional, and we both have what’s best for the town in mind. So we’d like to come to a resolution.”

Childs talked about efforts of the various nonprofits all dedicated to promoting the town in their own way: POBSA, Fathoms ‘O Fun, the Chamber of Commerce, the Cedar Cove Association and the Sidney Museum and Art Gallery, as well as local service groups. She suggests that, if the groups agree, the Main Street Association could serve as a hub to coordinate activities and amplify efforts of each. Or not …

“Please make no mistake; our intentions have never been to step on anyone’s toes or conflict with any one of these organizations, especially POBSA,” Childs said. “Alternatively, if POBSA would like to become the designated Main Street organization for Port Orchard, we will step aside, withdraw our Main Street application, and make way for you. You have a very talented and dedicated team, and we are sure that you can be successful.”

The Main Street program offers a protocol advancing the rebirth of historic urban areas, including a tax credit program only available to businesses that donate to local Main Street affiliates. The affiliates in turn direct the donations toward efforts that promote their respective towns as vibrant places where people will want to gather, shop and play.

I plan to follow up with Ryan and Childs after Tuesday’s meeting, so stay tuned.

Chris Henry, reporter

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