Mayor's May 2006 NewsletterDownload the Mayor's May Newsletter in Adobe PDF format.
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Olympic College Comes to the Table on JC Penney Site
Olympic College has owned the former Penney's building in downtown Bremerton for the past 30 years. The building, as well as the old Bremer's Department store, is managed by the Bremer Trust led for the past many years by Mike Connelly, the Finance Director of Olympic College. Both buildings had been vacant for many years before the Penney's building was converted into a parking garage. This is the largest single owned site in downtown Bremerton and its use will have a huge impact on the City's future. The Bremer Trustees met with community leaders last week to discuss the possibility of transforming the building into a mixed used site that might include retail, as well as housing. The Governor's office has offered to help find funding to do a feasibility study on the best use for the property. More to come!
Armed Forces Parade â€“ Largest in America
The largest Armed Forces parade in America will march down the main streets of Bremerton on Saturday, May 20, led by the Navy marching band and followed by two hours of bands, floats, and civic organizations. Bremerton has a proud tradition of honoring our men and women in the service. This will be our 58th parade, and it will again be organized by the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce and led by its dedicated parade director Cris Larsen. My thanks to all that help make this great event happen, it is a lot of work.
City Hires New Director of Parks & Recreation
I am proud to announce that we have hired Wyn Birkenthal to lead our Parks and Recreation Department. Wyn comes to us from the City of Richland where he served as their Parks Director. He was also formerly the Director of Parks and Recreation for Spokane County. He started his parks career with the City of Bellevue in 1985. Our Parks system will go through dramatic growth and change in the coming years and will require strong leadership. I believe we have found the right person to lead that change. Wyn will begin his career with the City on June 5th of this year.
City's Flower Program in Full Bloom
I am a big believer that flowers do make a difference. They make people feel better and dress up the City. Tom Cressman, who is in charge of Parks Maintenance for the department of Parks & Recreation, has led the effort to upgrade our flower program. His crews built the City's first greenhouse where we grow our own flowers. Starting this month you will see flower gardens and hanging baskets throughout the City. Hats off to Tom and his crew for bringing this enjoyment to the citizens of Bremerton.
Harborside Park Under Construction
Finally our grand new Harborside Park is under construction on the south side of the ferry terminal. Gary Sexton, project manager for the park, is personally supervising the entire construction effort, up to and including choosing trees that will soon be planted, as well as the renovation of 100 year old Building 50 which will serve as the new Bremerton Naval Museum. According to Gary, phase 1 of the park construction will be completed by late this fall. This park will help make the downtown waterfront a special place that will attract new development and new jobs to the City.
City's Worst Intersection
The worst intersection in the City is the busy intersection of 11th and Warren where Highway 303 meets up with 11th Street the main east-west arterial. There have been over 80 accidents at this intersection during the past three years. I have recommended that the right turn lane for traffic going south on Warren Avenue be widened for those who want to turn right and go west on 11th. This is a dangerous corner with little turn room and where traffic will back up two blocks to get into the right turn lane. The citizens deserve to have this much used intersection improved and made safer.
Boardwalk Project Moves Forward
The City Council voted last week to take the next step in the development of the proposed new Boardwalk that will go from the downtown waterfront all the way to Evergreen Park. The Council approved a major contract with the engineering firm of Parametrix to move forward into the design and permit stage. Funds for actual construction will need to be raised from State and Federal sources for the project to be completed. When completed, this will be the longest boardwalk over water in the State of Washington. Phil Williams, the City's Director of Public Works & Utilities, is leading the development of this exciting project
First Boys and Girls Club
Bremerton will be getting its first Boys and Girls Club thanks to the efforts of a group of community volunteers lead by Norm Johnson, Peter Braun, and Jerry Reid. The group has formed a Board of Directors and last month raised over $200,000 in one night at a Gala event at the Admiral Theater to help the Club get started. The plan is for the Club to be open sometime this fall and located on the grounds of Naval Avenue School. This supports our goal of providing after school activities for the kids in the City. I grew up going to a Boys and Girls Club and worked for 30 years for the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County, so I know the positive influence a Club can have on children.
Fuel Cost Impacts City Budget
The high cost of fuel has hit our citizens as well as the City. The City will be looking at ways to better and more efficiently manage the fleet of trucks and cars used to provide service throughout the City. We need to look at using vehicles that get better gas mileage as well as the possibility of ones that can use alternative fuels. Since it does not appear this situation will improve in the near future, conservation will be an important part of our operation for years to come. The world situation as it relates to fuel does not look positive so we must be smart enough to adapt to this new fuel environment.
Inc. Magazine Recognizes Bremerton Revitalization
The national May issue of Inc. Magazine has again recognized Bremerton as one of the "Boom Cities" in the United States. Bremerton was ranked 10th hottest City in the category of cities with population under 150,000. Bellingham was ranked 6th and Olympia was ranked 21st in the survey. This is the second national publication to recognize Bremerton this year with the Milken Institute also singing the praises of the City by ranking the Bremerton â€“ Silverdale area as the 18th best performing Cities for 2005.
Downtown Building Heights
The City Council will take up the issue of building heights in the area designated by the comprehensive plan as the Downtown Regional Center of Bremerton. For over 40 years the height limit in this area was 120 feet which was established by the very first city comprehensive plan created in 1965. I believe that was the correct vision then and still is today. Our city has been designated by the Puget Sound Regional Council as one of the five regional centers in the region and we will only achieve that goal by allowing what I consider a modest height of 120 feet in our downtown core. Taller buildings in the downtown area bring new jobs, people to live downtown, shop in the stores and eat in the restaurants and allows for the creation of an economically vibrant downtown that will produce new revenues that can be used to improve services for all citizens.
City Receives National Finance Award
The City has been notified that we have received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for 2005 from the Government Finance Officers Association. This award is the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting and represents a significant achievement by our finance department. Congratulations to Laura Lyon, Director of Financial Services, and her staff for this wonderful achievement. It demonstrates our professionalism in dealing with the City's finances.