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One city block at a time: downtown clean-up begins
By KELLY EVERETT
Acronyms are funny things.
During Mayor Cary Bozemans campaign, he couldnt stop talking about his plan for a Downtown Improvement Program to beautify Bremertons 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 hows BBD coming along?
The mayor said its going great and will continue as long as Im here.
Its a priority of mine. Its all part of revitalizing downtown Bremerton. Filling up those empty buildings and bringing in new business wont happen until downtown is people friendly, Bozeman said.
He said he realizes its important to pay attention to the big things the planned conference center, multi-government building, new housing along the waterfront but youve 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 wont cost the city anything, he said, adding that hes already told the respective agencies to get busy on their booths, bus stops and paper boxes.
Were 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.
Im going to fix up City Hall as well, said the mayor. Its a terrible place for people to work. The carpeting is taped down in some places; it hasnt been painted.
He said he wasnt sure the exact cost of all the improvements to a city already strapped for cash.
Were 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.
Weve 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 citys 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.