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‘Wireless cloud’ on horizon

By the end of the year Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman envisions the Kitsap Conference Center plaza dotted with young professionals using their laptops.

By summer 2007 that same plaza, he hopes, will be filled with small water craft and hundreds of boating enthusiasts at the inaugural Bremerton Harborside Boat Show.

In a few years, Bozeman hopes to see the city’s most underused parks teeming with people.

Bozeman recently published a list of priorities for 2006. Among what he called his “highest priorities” is to balance the city budget, develop an annexation plan and create a “wireless cloud” over the city’s core.

He wants Bremerton to be a “smart city” offering the latest technological ammentities to lure young people and families to the area.

The city is looking at Internet service providers, who would supply the ability to go online virtually anywhere in the city’s downtown core.

“It’s aimed mainly at the casual user,” Bozeman said.

Antennas would be placed on the Norm Dicks Government Center on Sixth Street and at the Conference Center on Washington Avenue.

“Once we’ve got the core taken care of, we can take it to the rest of the city,” said Bill Eley, the city’s information technology manager.

The costs would be minimal, Bozeman said, but the gains could be many.

Attracting young families leads to a “more vibrant” school district, which has had an enrollment slump for the past few years, he said.

A Bremerton Harborside Boat Show is in the works for June or July 2007 at the Kitsap Conference Center. A boat show would help Bremerton take advantage of its waterfront location and help it secure a spot as a great waterfront city, he said.

“We have a perfect facility for a boat show,” Bozeman said. He has been in talks with the Northwest Marine Trade Association, which orchestrates the Seattle Boat Show. While Bremerton’s would be smaller in scale and feature boats smaller than 20 feet, Bozeman sees it attracting up to 20,000 people during a 3-4 day period.

He is forming a committee to work on the event’s details. Anyone interested in participating can contact the mayor’s office at (360) 473-5266.

Bozeman also has his sights set on rejuvenating Forest Ridge Park with walking trails and an arboretum. He wants to hire a parks planner to work with the community and develop a concept.

“Of the 20 acres, about one acre is usable,” Bozeman said of Forest Ridge.

“Let’s see what the public wants. It’s not my vision that’s important, it’s what the public would like to see there,” Bozeman said.

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