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Downtown subarea plan reaches halfway point

As downtown Bremerton continues its rebirth and redevelopment, the public is being asked for its input on the area’s future for the next 20 years.

After completing the Westpark and Eastpark subarea plans, city officials have placed their focus on finishing a similar plan for the city’s downtown core, city associate planner Geoffrey Wentlandt said.

The second of three open houses discussing the plan will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. July 12 at the Norm Dicks Government Center.

“It’s the most developed area we’ve worked on,” Wentlandt said.

While that fact creates challenges, it also creates opportunities, and there are still options for the area, he said.

“There will be display boards, and we want to give people the opportunity to take it in at their own pace,” he said.

The feedback from the first downtown subarea open house have been included in the most recent drafts of the plan, and the city’s parks master plan and non-motorized transportation plan will also be available for public comment and review, he said.

“They are different plans, but there’s a lot of overlap between them,” he said.

Those plans are separate from the subarea plan, but they are also linked to it because of the city’s new comprehensive plan focus, he said.

“With the city’s centers concept, we are encouraging more density in urban centers, so it’s important to have green space,” he said.

Those spaces are critical to the city’s ability to provide a high standard of quality of life, he said.

The non-motorized transportation plan includes things such as bike lanes and among the issues to be resolved are when to require developers to upgrade streets and include bike lanes, Wendlandt said.

City Parks and Recreation director Wyn Birkenthal said the parks master plan’s first draft and should be available for the public at the July 12 meeting.

“I hope to have the first draft available, so people can take them home and they can mark them up,” Birkenthal said.

Although the idea of presenting three long range plans at one meeting is unique, Birkenthal said it is important as each moves ahead.

“It’s important because we didn’t want to have a disconnect,” he said.

If each of the plans were to be presented separately, it’s possible that the city and its consultants might hear different things about the plans, which are overlapping, he said.

As the city pushes toward increased density in its core, the city’s major parks will be located on its edges, but the non-motorized transportation plan will play a crucial role in connecting people to those amenities, he said.

“We’re trying to create a trails system, so if people want to walk or ride their bike, they can have a safe environment to do that,” he said. “We’re trying to add spokes to the wheel.”

Once all three plans are completed, the end result will benefit the city as it provides a high quality of life, which will not only serve its current residents, but help its leaders in their economic redevelopment efforts, Birkenthal said.

The results from the July 12 open house as well as other information about the subarea plan will be posted on the city’s website at www.ci.bremerton.wa.us.

Grey Box:

Downtown Subarea Open House

5:30-7:30 p.m. July 12

Norm Dicks Government Center

www.ci.bremerton.wa.us

(360) 473-5845

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