Will Sidney Museum Be Displaced by Town Center Project?

A proposal to build a parking garage and community center on Prospect Street has members of the Sidney Museum and Arts Association feeling a little nervous.

Although city officials say plans aren’t set in stone, preliminary drawings show the Port Orchard Town Center Revitalization Project encroaching on the Sidney Museum and Art Gallery at the corner of Prospect and Sidney Avenue. Jud Turner, representing the nonprofit arts association, has asked the city council to preserve the historic building, constructed in 1908.

The proposed town center includes as 473-stall underground parking garage, 7,500 square feet of retail space and a new 13,500-square-foot library, along with pedestrian malls and other amenities that designers say would make the area a hub of city activity.

A story on the town center will run tomorrow in the Kitsap Sun.

The council on Tuesday will vote on a proposal to extend its contract with Art Anderson and Associates for a feasibility study and conceptual design of the center. The Bremerton firm will present a cost estimate for the project at the council’s Feb. 17 work study meeting at City Hall. Members of the association’s board also have been invited to speak at the meeting, which is open to the public.

At the council’s Jan. 20 work study, Turner asked the council to consider alternatives to tearing down the historic building. Councilman Fred Olin suggested the building could be moved, but the two-story museum has a number of structural problems that would make it costly and difficult to relocate, said Dorsey.
“I don’t know why the museum and library couldn’t share space. It seems like the perfect marriage,” said Dorsey.
“It’s very, very early in the process, so it’s good everyone is getting their concerns out on the table now,” said Development Director James Weaver.

The city has identified multiple funding sources for the project, including federal economic stimulus money. Although the city is not ready to break ground any time in the near future, it seems not a matter of if, but when the center will be built.

Anyone with an interest in the proposal or its impact on the museum may want to circle Feb. 17 on their calendar. In addition, city staff are meeting with the museum’s board at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 at the museum. The preliminary plan is available on the city’s Web site.

By the way, the extension of the $30,000 contract with Art Anderson will not add to the cost; $6,500 has yet to be spent. The council also authorized a geotechnical study with a different firm, costing $15,000, that showed the proposed structure could be built without having to be shored up with pilings.

4 thoughts on “Will Sidney Museum Be Displaced by Town Center Project?

  1. Mary – My apologies. Your comment accidentally got deleted. I retrieved it from my e-mail. Mary Colborn says:

    This is very concerning. I am glad I opened this up today. It’s one thing to revitalize a city, it’s another thing entirely to tear down institutions that help define the city.

    For what it is worth, I believe that the plans need to be adjusted to accomodate the museum right where it is. It is a destination point, a showcase for artists around the community. It is the home of the pie feast on July 4th and holds the history of Port Orchard.

    Reconsider this proposal, City Council, so that people have something real to see when they visit Port Orchard aka Cedar Cove.

  2. Chris,

    Your hard copy article mentioned that Mr. Dorsey said that “the city’s limits on maximum building height make the current museum site the preferred location for the new library.”

    I hope he reads this as I’m uncertain why the limits would be different at the corner of Sidney and Prospect rather than anywhere to the west of Sidney along the south side of Prospect. Maybe he can help me understand his comment. Or something in your notes?

    Thanks, Kim

  3. Kim – As I understood Mark, the fact that Prospect slopes to a lower grad at the museum end of the street allows for the proposed library to be built there within the limits of the city’s height restrictions. Sorry I didn’t explain that well.

  4. Thanks Chris,

    Looking at the plans, it appears a portion of the museum site is a plaza and the library building goes roughly where the old funeral home is right now. Additionally, the building as proposed on the plans is no more than two stories. The height limit is 27 feet (POMC 16.20.213), unless you do the amenity bit and could reach 39 feet. I think that two stories is usually within the 27 foot range.

    So I’m still unclear on why his point would make any difference. Unless the City doesn’t want to change the view for neighbors on Kitsap and then that should be clear that the neighbor’s views are part of the consideration. It will preserve the views from Kitsap by building in the space of the existing buildings (of which include the museum and the old funeral home are the only two story buildings).

    And that’s okay, but it should be clear that is the intent of why the new building is being placed in the proposed position. The height restriction is the same all along that corridor and wouldn’t change how high the proposed building could be, even with the change in gradient.

    Kim

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