Oh Yeah, Bremerton, Well So Are You

Question: How many Kitsap Sun reporters does it take to poke fun at Port Orchard?

Answer: Three. One to dredge up old jokes that won’t die (I wonder why). One to actually pay attention to what our mayor is saying. And one to look over his shoulder in case Seattle decides it’s time for paybacks.

Authors of the Bremerton Beat tossed PO aside like a well-picked bone when a juicy new haunch of meat fell in their laps in the form of Mayor Cary Bozeman’s disparaging comments about Seattle’s waterfront. An unapologetic Bozeman made the Seattle Times front page this weekend.

Yes, the Bremerton Beat is big and important. Ooo, ah, I’m soooo impressed.

And no wonder Bremerton is full of itself. They’re in the money yet again.

Bremerton stands to get $330,000 a year for 25 years after recent changes to a bill to include Bremerton in a list of cities sharing a state revitalization pool. The money is intended to help local governments improve infrastructure, thereby encouraging private development. The idea is that the new development will raise the amount of sales taxes collected in a specific area — enough to pay back the state for its investment.

“It basically says we’re going to let you bond against future revenues that you’ll see as a result of new private-sector development,” said state Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor. Kilmer sponsored the legislation, known as Senate Bill 5045.

The bill passed in the Senate in March with a 48-0 vote. The amended bill, which includes the funding for Bremerton, passed the House on a 92-5 vote Thursday. All six Kitsap representatives voted in favor of it.

Bremerton has a great idea (kinda like those condos?) for how it will use the money. The city plans to bond against the funds to build 235 partially underground parking spaces topped by a plaza on Burwell Street between Pacific and Park Avenues.

Wow, what a concept. Why didn’t Port Orchard think of that?

Turns out they have. In February, Art Anderson & Associates unveiled a conceptual design for the city’s Town Center Revitalization Project, slated to include an underground parking garage and a new building for the city’s library. The idea is to get parking off the waterfront, create more parking and make an attractive gathering place for residents and visitors. Planning for the center, which city council members see as critical to boosting the town’s economic development, have been in the works since 2007.

On Tuesday, I’ll be at a city council work study session at which Mayor Lary Coppola (and staff) will give an update on the city’s stimulus funding requests and efforts he’s made to gain the ear of legislators. Coppola recently met with Congressman Norm Dicks, who, according to Coppola, said he’d try to work his magic for our little burg. On his list of recommended appropriations, Dicks has included $165,000 for Port Orchard’s Reclaimed Water Distribution System. (Hey, it’s a start.) Coppola has also been working with Sen. Patty Murray’s office and found them “very helpful.”

“It’s been a long time since Port Orchard has benefited from government funding, federal and state,” said Coppola, who freely admits he’s taken several pages out of Bozeman’s book. “It’s been a long time since Port Orchard has asked.”

Yes, as Coppola’s fond of saying, “Port Orchard has been the redheaded stepchild of Kitsap County for as long as we can remember, and it’s time that changed.”

Totally, I mean, can you imagine driving into town and seeing the sign, “Welcome to Port Orchard, the red-headed step-child of Kitsap County.”

The Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce is working on a branding campaign that hopefully will give PO’s image a bit of a spit shine.

Oh, well, at least we can say we don’t need a a $53 million tunnel to get the heck out of Dodge.

4 thoughts on “Oh Yeah, Bremerton, Well So Are You

  1. The only thing worth doing in downtown Port Orchard is the Farmers Market in the Spring & Summer on Saturdays. These are the only times the local Merchants make any money at all, spillover customers that come to town for the Market..
    The Farmers Market, which wasn’t even considered in the PO Downtown Revitalization Plan, is being kicked out of Downtown next year or the year after. Those dirty farmers and crafters don’t ‘fit’ into the atmosphere they’re trying to create.
    Though there was a magnanimous offer to keep the Market downtown.. FOR $2000 a MONTH! (for 30 years the Market has paid 15$ per year)
    As far as I’m concerned, PO doesn’t deserve squat!

  2. I knew there was a reason I don’t go there anymore. Whoever is in charge of this may want to step down and get some real people on the planning commitee.

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