Cleaning house | Opinion
By COLLEEN SMIDT
Bremerton Patriot Community Columnist
September 25, 2012 · Updated 8:39 AM
Cleaning house is a necessary chore.
There are a couple of ways you can approach cleaning. One way, simply address the obvious and visible while ignoring the hidden. The other way is tackling issues that go all the way to the core. The type of hardcore cleaning needed to strip everything down to the most basic structural level and work its way back up to the surface, clean, again.
Bremerton has reached a position where it needs to reassess how it keeps and cleans its own house.
It is with great joy that I have watched yet another longtime derelict, nuisance property in my own neighborhood undergo a complete transformation from something I would not put my dog in to a beautiful and welcoming home now listed for sale. The property is just one example of many that have been rehabilitated in the area in recent years.
Rehabbing and removing nuisance property is the type of deep cleaning and “in the trenches” work that is embraced, welcomed and encouraged by the average citizen. The work and rewards come from personal and private investment with little fanfare and minimal financial risk to the public.
With that in mind, it’s with great concern that I see yet another type of development raising its head in our community. It is the kind of development that is politically driven, has little accountability and significant risk. The type of development that I see coming is not needed, it does not fit our community nor is it even financially obtainable on the average Bremerton resident’s per capita income.
As possible new development projects are revealed in the Evergreen Park and Washington Avenue area, I have discovered that existing city development and code policy that I had such initial faith in to protect me as a citizen and a taxpayer is really full of holes and opportunities for me and every other resident of this city to be left with a very real possibility that we will be holding that financial bag yet again.
For more than a decade I have supported many of the improvements that have come to pass in the downtown area. Not all, but many. Over time it becomes more apparent as to which improvements continue to be successful in their original intentions and which ones have left taxpayers holding a very burdensome bag. I am starting to feel like I am holding that bag more often than not.
I am concerned with the city’s history with developers who default and walk away leaving behind dangerous debris piles for lack of financing, then the city turns around after the clean-up has been done and openly encourages that same developer to build on the same property on an even larger and more expensive scale.
A repetitive cycle of abuse that is apparently legal and allowed under the current city law.
I personally do not welcome these risky and speculative projects that have no market to support them. I also hold the leadership and policy makers of this city responsible for the negative and expensive ramifications that will surely come from this existing development environment that they have created and allowed.
Yes, it is most surely time for citizens of Bremerton to begin the hard core cleaning of their city house.