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One city block at a time: downtown clean-up begins

By KELLY EVERETT

Staff Writer

Acronyms are funny things.

During Mayor Cary Bozeman’s campaign, he couldn’t stop talking about his plan for a “Downtown Improvement Program” to beautify Bremerton’s central core — not realizing the acronym for this is “DIP.”

He laughed for five minutes this past week when asked for a progress report on “DIP.”

“Please,” he said after he stopped laughing. “Call it, ah, ‘Bringing Back Downtown.’ Anything but “DIP.”

DIP sounds too, well, “dippy,” he said.

OK. So how’s BBD coming along?

The mayor said it’s going great and “will continue as long as I’m here.

“It’s a priority of mine. It’s all part of revitalizing downtown Bremerton. Filling up those empty buildings and bringing in new business won’t happen until downtown is people friendly,” Bozeman said.

He said he realizes it’s important to pay attention to the big things — the planned conference center, multi-government building, new housing along the waterfront — but you’ve got to pay attention “to the little things, too.”

Details such as scrubbing sidewalks, putting beauty bark around trees, pulling weeds and scraping moss along storefronts.

A half dozen to a dozen Parks Department workers have been shifted from other duties to work on such details, he said, describing it as a minimal cost to the city. Other ideas to make downtown more inviting are to repair and clean-up telephone booths, upgrade Kitsap Transit bus stops, and spruce up newspaper boxes.

“And these won’t cost the city anything,” he said, adding that he’s already told the respective agencies to get busy on their booths, bus stops and paper boxes.

“We’re painting new crosswalks,” he said, “improving signage, planting flowers, improving street lighting.”

Fourth Street between Pacific and Washington avenues is the model, the mayor said.

“One block at a time. Visitors will begin to see the town as a good investment,” rather than an eyesore, he said.

“I’m going to fix up City Hall as well,” said the mayor. “It’s a terrible place for people to work. The carpeting is taped down in some places; it hasn’t been painted.”

He said he wasn’t sure the exact cost of all the improvements to a city already strapped for cash.

“We’re a $75 million company,” he said, and need to look like it.

Jim Spencer, director of Parks and Recreation for the city, said only part of his crew has been reassigned for the downtown sprucing up.

In addition to pressure washing sidewalks, putting in beauty bark and planting flowers here and there, his crews have been moving a few trees too.

“We’ve got time to do it this time of year,” he said. “Not many playing fields need mowing or are being used.”

There are 31 parks with 314 acres in the city’s park system, he said, including four biggies: Evergreen, just doubled in size; Lions Playfield; Pendergast, with its new indoor soccer field; and Gateway, the newly planted green strip at the southern end of the city. Parks & Rec also oversees Ivy Green Cemetery, the Jarstad Aquatic Center and the Senior Center in Manette.

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