PO Mayor Convenes Stakeholders Group

Parking is the major issue in downtown, merchants say.
By Chris Henry
chenry@kitsapsun.com
PORT ORCHARD
Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola has convened an ad hoc group of downtown business and property owners to “express their concerns and frustrations, and discuss what they believe the city can do to address their issues.”
Coppola said he tapped prospective members he believes represent a cross-section of downtown interests.
In an e-mail to city council members, he added, “I have made it very clear to the folks I’ve talked to that this is to be positive and
solution-oriented — not just an opportunity to complain.”
That won’t be a problems with at least one group member.
“I think it’s really good that Lary is getting involved and asking what he can do to help us,” said Liana Laughlin, owner of That’s Beautiful bead and jewelry shop. “I haven’t really had a problem with the city itself. I think the people involved are really trying to help the businesses.”
Laughlin said if anything it’s the merchants who needs to do a better job of working together to support each other. For example, she said, they should coordinate hours of operation, especially during special events.
Group member Mallory Jackson, owner of Custom Picture Framing on Bay Street, has challenged the city in the past on parking related to downtown festivals. Parking remains an issue, she said. In addition, Jackson believes the city should support a variety of businesses, not only those that profit from special event traffic.
“I’m not a business that thrives on the festivals and events,” Jackson said.
“As a matter of fact, the closure of the road and the parking has really hurt me over this past year.”
Group member Darryl Baldwin, owner of Moondogs, Too and president of the Port Orchard Bay Street Association, said parking is the pivotal issue in downtown. He supports Jackson’s position but says, as long as the parking is addressed, there should be more, not fewer special events to “give people a reason to come downtown.”
“Each of these events supports different merchants with different products,” Baldwin said. “But as a whole, all the merchants benefit.”
Other members of the group include Van Vlist of Dick Vlist Motors, Judy Eagelson of the Mentor Company, John Reddy of Puget Sound Wine Cellar, Amy Igloi-Matsuno of Amy’s on the Bay and Rudy Swenson of Rings and Things.

3 thoughts on “PO Mayor Convenes Stakeholders Group

  1. So the mayor only wants to hear from some businesses (including his hand picked city council candidate)? I vote for less festivals, they seem to kill everything I attend downtown be it the bars, bookstore, or the theater. Cedar Cove Days was a killer for the places I frequent. I’m surprised none of the local papers picked up on that but it’s easier to cheerlead than rain on a parade. How about knocking down the library and building a park like in downtown Poulsbo? It always amazes me how busy that place is on a hot day. That would give people a reason to hang out and hopefully spend money downtown.

  2. Karen,

    Actually, Tim Waibel from Sugardaddy’s is part of the group and contributed quite a lot in the way of ideas.

    Dave,

    Among the topics discussed were dealing with the issues that adversely impact non-food and beverage businesses during festivals — and especially closures of Bay Street. A number of downtown businesses reported doing well during Cedar Cove Days, as did all of the restaurants and beverage establishments – with two reporting all-time record business days. The museum for example, had its highest traffic counts ever.

    However, there are a small number that were impacted negatively, and the purpose of the meeting was to look for positive solutions for the ones who don’t benefit from that type of activity downtown.

    I’m happy to note that the meeting went very well, was extremely cordial on all fronts, and some very positive suggestions resulted, that are now being explored. Once some of those have been researched, another meeting will be convened and see how what works can actually be implemented. So stay tuned – I’m looking for good things to come from this.

    LFC

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