Roger Gay, a regular reader and commenter on the Kitsap Sun’s website, posted a comment on today’s story about the Port Orchard’s sales tax revenue boost due to annexations.
“Why did Home Depot withdraw from building in Port Orchard? What is the expected impact from the apartment complex’s being built at the Sidney/Sedgwick intersection? What happened to the proposed roundabouts on Tremont and improvements to that corridor? Has the new waterside park facilities and trail in downtown Port Orchard increased downtown walk about traffic? When is the farmers market facility scheduled to open?
I felt like I was in eighth grade, walking into class and getting a pop quiz.
Roger went on to say that with recent improvements, Port Orchard actually seems to have it going on, whereas Bremerton … not so much. Roger, correct me if I’ve misstated your opinion.
Anyway, I got out my number two pencil and jumped in to answer Roger’s questions, which many of you may have as well:
Home Depot: Company sales projections didn’t justify moving forward, although HD has done most of the heavy lifting on the site, which is now set for any other big box store that wants to try its luck on the Bethel Corridor.
Tremont Street: Roundabouts were redesigned over a period of several years in part to better accommodate emergency vehicles. The city used federal grants for much of the $3.6 million it took for design and right-of-way acquisition. The city needs $15 million to build the gateway project. City Engineer Mark Dorsey will apply I believe in August to the state Transporaiton Improvement Board. The city will need to come up with an additional $2.7 for undergrounding utilities and other costs not covered by the grant. According to Dorsey, the fact the city used any federal money on Tremont means the clock is ticking on the project. There has been a tightening of rules regarding federal transportation money so that projects don’t just get started and lie the fallow. I’m guessing when and if the $15 m grant comes through, we at the Kitsap Sun will hear Dorsey’s whoop of excitement across Sinclair Inlet.
Apartment Complex: The Sidney, a 105-apartment complex at the corner of Sidney and Sedgewick, is open and leasing. In fact the council discussed the impact of the project at an April meeting. Rush Construction met all requirements for traffic and environmental impacts, Dorsey told the council. All of this was reviewed in detail and approved by the city’s hearing examiner several years ago, so if the council had any concerns about the size of the project or its impact on the surrounding area, the horse is out of that barn, Dorsey in essence said. The council agreed to look carefully at urban density regulations within the city the next time its comprehensive plan comes up for review. City planners are already working on population estimates to get ready for that process.
Port Orchard Market: In June contractors working on the building (which is actually two or three buildings spliced together) found a wall that they weren’t expecting, meaning they had to do a redesign of the facade. That required going back to the city for another permit, which I have heard was recently issued. Don Ryan, who is heading up the project, was reluctant to say exactly when the market will open so as not to disappoint, but the project is not dead, he said.
Port Orchard Marina Park: Based on my general observations (and especially the night of the July 4th fireworks) people are loving the park expansion, with its viewing platform, pedestrian path and interactive mural. Unfortunately, the new features attracted vandals, but POPD is on it.
Oh, and BTW, the newly renovated DeKalb Pier is to open soon, and it looks really classy.
As for cooperation between Port Orchard and Bremerton, there has been considerable talk and some action on that front. The cities and the Port of Bremerton partnered on expanded summer hours for the foot ferry between the two towns.
If you count the recent opening of the South Kitsap Skatepark, you might say, yes, there is a sense of momentum right now in good old PO/South Kitsap. I can say that city and port generated projects are the result of years of government wheels grinding slowly.
Chris Henry, reporter
Here’s a video of the skatepark opening: