Category Archives: Economics

Sheridan Village in a ‘rebirth cycle’

The village that may become a crossing.

Let’s face it: it’s not terribly difficult in Bremerton to find a barren parking lot abutting a shuttered strip mall. If you’ve taken a drive down Wheaton Way anytime in the last decade, you know what I’m talking about.

But look closer, and you might find signs of life.

Take, for example, Sheridan Village, at the corner of Lower Wheaton Way and Lebo Boulevard. The once-bustling commercial mall, anchored by Red Apple Market, was pretty much a thriving marketplace in the decades following World War II.

But in the 1980s, as the baton of retail hub was passed from Bremerton to Silverdale, places like Sheridan Village suffered. Despite its proximity to Harrison Medical Center, downtown and Highway 303, the place has nearly been a ghost town in recent decades.

But this year, the complex has been filling up. In the last six months, five new businesses have opened, leading to new hopes for growth in the area, said Ken Malmborg, the property manager for Sheridan Village.

Lanette Duchesneau

“It’s in a rebirth cycle,” he said.

The complex’s owners are looking at re-branding the village into “Sheridan Crossing.” And two businesses are holding grand openings there this Saturday. The Salad Shack, at 722 Lebo Boulevard, and H&J’s Natural Beauty Supply next door, are owned and operated by longtime Bremerton residents.

“It’s starting to boom here,” said Lanette Duchesneau, owner of the Salad Shack.

The mall’s tenants point to several factors to explain the growth spurt: the increasing popularity of other neighborhoods, including Manette, downtown and Kitsap Way areas, the reconstructed Lower Wheaton Way (and soon, Lebo Boulevard) and the efforts to create a “bridge to bridge” walking trail between Manette and Warren Avenue bridges.

It can’t hurt to have a hospital nearby, the owners acknowledge. And that hospital is leaving. But many of the businesses remain optimistic that they’ll remain without it. In Duchesneau’s case, she’s hopeful word of her restaurant will spread. “If it’s good, they’ll come,” she said.

“There’s still a community here, even if the hospital leaves,” she said. “The hospital doesn’t make a community. People make a community.”

Downtown Bremerton project ‘Spyglass Hill’ underway


I’m often asked about the Spyglass Hill development, a project that will add 80 apartments on Highland Avenue in downtown Bremerton. Since crews bulldozed the dilapidated homes there last year, the most frequent question about it I get is “When will construction start?”

Now, it turns out.

Late last week, the Earth movers started up above the Manette Bridge (see above photo). I happened to run into Wes Larson, its developer, last week at Great Peninsula Conservancy’s Spring Dinner, and so I had to ask. Yes, the permits are in hand and construction on the $15 million project has begun, I learned.

First up is attaching utilities to the property via Washington Avenue. You’ve probably noticed how there’s a gap in the retaining wall on Washington that used to be John Hoffman’s garage/storage space. Now, that gap is helping to provide crews space to underground the utilities into the project. Once that’s done, a new retaining wall will go up and that space will be filled in.

From there, the project will go up five stories.

Its original completion date was January 2016. I suspect that may be pushed back since construction didn’t start quite as early as anticipated.

Spyglass isn’t the only new apartment project going up downtown. You may have seen the 606 Burwell project, which is moving along for an opening date before the year’s up. There’s also designed projects that have not set dates for construction but are ready in theory. Those include “Evergreen Pointe” near the park and the Towers project off Sixth Street and Washington Avenue.

I’ll keep you posted as I hear more on any of these projects.

What Spyglass Hill will look like when it’s completed.


From above, corn maze has Bremerton look

Photo by Sky-Pix Aerial Photography.
Photo by Sky-Pix Aerial Photography.

Minder Farm‘s popular annual corn maze off Highway 303 benefitted from a spectacular start to fall this year.  But did you know that each year, the five acre maze is not just designed to be fun for those on the ground but picturesque from a birds-eye view as well?

Two Bremerton companies that each call the West Hills home — Minder Meats, along with Bremerton Bottling Company —  joined forces this year to imprint the latter’s logo within about 90,000 cornstalks.

“This was just an opportunity the Minders brought to us,” Pete McKenzie, sales and marketing manager for Bremerton Bottling Company. “We’ve worked with them in the past and we thought this would be a fun thing to do.”

“People love it,” added Jim Carlson, owner of Minder Meats in Bremerton, whose family owns the storied farm off Highway 303.

It’s the eighth year Minder has hosted a corn maze. The family relies on Idaho-based, which uses GPS to create the maze. It costs about $5,000 to do it, Carlson said.

Given the growth of so-called “agratainment,” Carlson keeps his eye on what other mazes do each year around the country. They’ve had some different designs in the past — one year they did ‘ESPN’ in big letters when the media covered the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede; on another they had a Seahawk, for reasons that, well, should be obvious. (Go Hawks!)

This year, they almost secured a deal with Geico but it fell through Carlson said. But after running into bottling company owner Carole Aughnay Dawson, he had an idea.

“They’ve done an awful lot for this community,” Carlson said of Bremerton Bottling.

This year’s maze, combined with great fall weather and some sharing of the photo above around social media and in the community, has been very successful, he said.

A sign of the times in Bremerton?


There are signs of change in Bremerton. Or, more literally, there are changing signs.

I’ve noticed several local businesses have recently upgraded their storefront signage. Some, like Uptown Mercantile and Marketplace (above), recently opened. Others, like the Bremerton Ice Arena (below), have been there for a long while.

Perhaps the signage is just a little image upgrading in time for spring. Have you seen any sign upgrades lately? Drop me a picture and a line at and I’ll post them here.


You might have noticed that Rimnam Thai Cuisine, formerly of E. 11th in Manette, is getting pretty close to opening in the defunct Bay Bowl near Harrison Medical Center. Sign’s up!


Fishing Downtown

The latest rendering of the statues proposed for Fourth Street and Pacific Avenue offers more color and shows that the fisherman looks more like one you would see around here. It still has the fish winning, but I’m seeing if there is a newer version to reflect the council’s 4-3 anti-whimsy vote Wednesday.

We had some ideas of our own for alternative statues at Fourth Street and Pacific Avenue. How about the images of the Kirk sisters or Nathan Adrian entering the water on one corner and coming out the other? It certainly passes the whimsy test.

A fish and a fisherman is what we will likely get, barring some momentum from I-don’t-know-where that would overturn the council’s decision to install the two statues we’ve come to know. I’ve received an e-mail from someone suggesting there was opposition on this on artistic grounds. I’ll elaborate when I get it confirmed.

One of the first comments was about unelecting the people who voted for this. Here’s the status of when they run again.

Will Maupin — Up for re-election in 2011.
Carol Arends — Just re-elected.
Adam Brockus — Just re-elected. Ran unopposed.
Nick Wofford — Just re-elected. Had an opponent who realized later he hadn’t lived in the district long enough.
Brad Gehring — Just lost a re-election bid in a close race.

Both Cecil McConnell and Roy Runyon, who voted “no,” and Dianne Robinson, who wasn’t in attendance, are up for re-election in 2011. Mike Shepherd, who also wasn’t there, ends his council service on Jan. 31.

We’re looking into what would happen to the money if it were sent back to the state and other issues in a follow-up story.

Finally, here’s my image of the swimmer. I drew it on the back of an envelope. Feel free to submit your own.

I’m not saying there should be art on the corners, but if there’s going to be something different you might want to consider this idea by me. I’d say it’s in alignment with the idea of connecting Bremerton with the water. Then again, I don’t live in incorporated Bremerton, and reporters are not supposed to offer ideas anyway. It’s not part of that conspiracy theory pact we all signed.

Klatman Resigns Bremerton Chamber Post

Silvia Klatman, executive director at the Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce for nearly a decade, announced Tuesday she is resigning to take a new job.

Klatman will work in public affairs with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Keyport beginning in January.

Klatman said the new job offers a good opportunity for personal and professional growth. “They’re looking at expanding their communications with employees,” she said. “It sounded very interesting and intriguing.”

Steve Green, president of the chamber, said Klatman will be difficult to replace. “She’s done a wonderful job for the community,” he said.

Green said the chamber’s board will wait until Jan. 4 to begin accepting resumes for a new executive director. Between now and then board members will be coming to an agreement about what they are looking for in Klatman’s replacement.

In addition to running the day-to-day affairs for the chamber, Klatman was often the face of the organization, leading chamber lunches and moderating early-morning political debates during campaign season. She began as executive director in August of 2000 but had worked for the chamber before as well as for the Kitsap Economic Development Council.

Klatman said Bremerton’s volunteers and business leaders will continue to keep the city growing. “The big thing that Bremerton has going for it, and frankly has always has had going for it, are the people,” she said.

City to Lay Off Three in Public Works

Citing a need to make sure the department’s expenditures match income, Phil Williams, public works director, confirmed Tuesday that three Bremerton employees will be laid off. One was informed Friday, another on Tuesday and the third was to be notified on Wednesday.

Williams said two of the employees are in the street division. A third employee is one who had planned to retire, but reconsidered. That employee will be given the lay-off notice, but under union rules will be able to replace someone else with less seniority. That will continue until a position is eliminated.

The street fund crew has been able to do work for other departments, such as paving work at the National Guard Readiness Center and construction at the new downtown memorial park, but “even with that we were barely kind of breaking even,” Williams said. “It was pretty obvious we needed to cut even more.”

The street fund borrowed $100,000 from the city’s Equipment Reserve Fund to shore up cash flow until revenues pick up during the summer.

Patty Lent Considering Bremerton Mayor Post

Former Kitsap County commissioner Patty Lent’s name has been among those bandied about as a possible mayoral candidate for Bremerton, but I had no luck contacting her until last night.

Lent attended the county commissioners’ meeting in which the commissioners restructured something Lent did while a commissioner. In 2005 she, Chris Endresen and Jan Angel approved a move that put the county as second guarantor on the loans for the Harborside Condominium project. Since the complex opened the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority has had little luck selling the units, laying the blame on a construction delay that led to the real estate and broader economic meltdown.

Lent took responsibility for the county’s decision in 2005. From Tuesday’s story:

Former county commissioner Patty Lent took responsibility for the current situation. She was a commissioner in 2005 when the board agreed to back the housing authority’s loan for the condos.

“It was an economic time that we thought we were well protected,” she said. Lent said the federal government was investing heavily in economic development at the time and the housing authority leaned into that role. She then praised the current commission for taking the step it took Monday.

“I was part of the problem in the past and you are really moving in a forward direction,” she said.

After the meeting I asked if she was running for mayor. “I haven’t decided, but I’m not saying ‘no,'” she said.

Monday night cleared one thing she said she had to do before deciding. “Tonight was a hurdle I needed to face.”

She described her choice in 2005 as a “poor decision,” but as she did in the meeting she said it was a time when the federal government was spending heavily on local economic development. “There was lots of money for revitalization,” she said.

City council members Mike Shepherd and Will Maupin have announced they are running and Shepherd has been campaigning for a while.

City Buys Post Office — Not Our City or our Post Office, But Still

Jim Thomsen, a copy editor here, e-mailed this news story to me over the weekend. It seems one city is willing to pay nothing for an old post office and the postal service is willing to take it.

One council member said it was a great deal . . . for the postal service. A resident said it was a “sweetheart deal,” but meant it in a good way, not the way we normally associate sweetheart deals.