Monthly Archives: March 2006

Scouting a Safer Corner

The city wants to add a lane at 11th and Warren, put in some landscaping and sell the rest of a 0.79-acre property it owns. The problem is a building built under the federal government’s Works Progress Administration in 1939 houses the offices for the Girl Scouts and Camp Fire USA. They’d like to work out a different solution with the city than one that would destroy the building and force them to move somewhere else and pay rent. Go to Traffic Fix Would Leave Kids’ Groups in Tight Spot to read the whole story.

Blast from the Past

Nothing was as telling as the excitement Levi Hernandez had on Saturday as he participated in his first Soap Box Derby race. That’s why he was the lead in the Sunday story we ran about the local derby.
The races nationally are a seven-decade tradition. Locally, it’s just been since 2003 that they’ve started letting kids roll down hills again. It looked like a lot of fun.
They’re looking for more kids to participate here in Kitsap County. Sandy Smith said the Silverdale Sunrise Rotary has more cars than drivers.
If nothing else, bid on a chance to ride in Oil Can race (It’s a fundraiser that gives adults to chance to drive grown-up-sized racers down the hill.) to see if you should have any qualms about letting your kids race.
The local group has a Web site at SoapBoxDerbyKids.

Sixth and Pacific

Focusing on the three shops mentioned in Monday’s story is part of the necessary recognition that progress comes with a price. Years from now I’m not sure how many people in Bremerton will remember those businesses were once there.
People get old. New people move in. The new folks will be a large part of the new Bremerton if revitalization efforts work.
Nonetheless, it’s a change of scenery for those who pass by the corner often.

“I Want to Know Where I’m Going to Be”

Thursday’s Westpark meeting was short on answers and that wasn’t a surprise. Read Friday’s story. Event organizers said the event would open the door to public comment and questions and would not be the time when concrete plans were in place.

Thoughtful questions came from the audience. Some were answerable, some were not.

One audience member said after the meeting she thought the underlying question for many of the residents was, “What’s going to happen to me?” I quoted Michael Brown (see this entry’s headline) asking essentially that question. He wasn’t disappointed, however, that the answer is not available yet.

Residents seemed reassured by Sharon Shrader’s comments about Bremerton Housing Authority’s mission being to provide affordable housing.

The answers to how just aren’t available yet. Leaving the meeting, housing authority interim Executive Director David Gitch said, “We’ll get them.”

Go West . . . park

Nothing is a given yet for the new Westpark, according to the developers. They think retail would be good and have some other ideas. You get to go to a meeting Thursday and hear a presentation let them know what you think.
The Westpark redevelopment will join Eastpark as a renewal effort taking place away from the downtown core. I do hear complaints about how much redevelopment attention is on downtown, but I also understand the reasoning for the focus.
What do you think? Should the focus be on downtown, with occasional efforts such as Eastpark and Westpark? Or should the city be spreading redevelopment around more.

And while we’re at it, are there are areas in which you wish the city was spending more money? More police? Better roads? Better parks? And how should the city get the money to do it?

Violent Crime in Bremerton

Sunday’s edition of the Kitsap Sun will include the first of Josh Farley’s two-part series on violent crime in Bremerton. While statistics by themselves can sometimes be skewed by geographic or other factors, the numbers are troubling.
Bremerton had the most violent crimes per capita in 2005 than any other city in Washington. Odds were that if you knew 100 people in town, at least one had been a victim of violent crime.
Josh’s story Sunday goes into four reasons why. Next Sunday he’ll go over some of the solutions the city is either considering or implementing.

More Rooms With a View

Our Friday front page has the story of the newly planned condo/hotel complex.
The KCCHA folks had been talking about this hotel idea for some time, going so far as to tell me how many rooms would be in the space for a previous story about hotel demand.
The Kitsap Credit Union will open soon. The buildings along Pacific near the shipyard are coming down and making way for a park.
The public conversations about the old JC Penney building that’s now a parking lot generating cash for Olympic College have given little sign of movement. Don’t be surprised, however, if the conversations don’t start changing. Its location and currrent appearance make the building an attention target, especially now that the waterfront is pretty well locked up.

Above Board

In November I wrote a story about Westsound Bank. Sitting in Dave Johnson’s office I continued to glance across the street to see the vacant buildings with the boarded windows.
It reminded me of neighborhoods we used to drive through going to my grandmother’s house in Los Angeles. In a lot of those areas if the buildings didn’t have rod iron on the windows, they had plywood. It was a real sign of blight.
One Christmas morning I saw a scene that sold me on the cliche that for some people Christmas is the loneliest day of the year. We were driving through one of those rod iron-or-boards neighborhoods, where many spent their nights asleep in building corners. Passing one street I saw standing on the sidewalk a man who we immediately assumed was well into his daily job of finding ways to obtain alcohol. I’m not trying to be glib here, because it was a sad sight. He had a well-worn suitcoat. His back was to us. His pants were around his ankles.

So when I see a line of buildings with boarded up windows, that’s one of the images I think of. The Woolworth’s and other vacant buildings could be demolished as early as May 1.
While I can never make guarantees for how other people will behave, my sense is the chances of that L.A. scene repeating itself in Bremerton diminish with the disappearance of those buildings.
Good thing.
It will also be progress toward the construction of a downtown park.

In other news, a passenger-only ferry bill passed in the Legislature Wednesday.

And City Councilwoman Wendy Priest makes the case that buildings on Highland Avenue don’t need to be 60-feet high.