Changes in Bremerton creating a buzz

Critics, beware: The city of Bremerton is changing its image before your eyes.

On Sept. 4, 1999, the very first issue of the Bremerton Patriot published the results of an informal telephone poll concerning the city and its efforts for revival.

The poll, taken by Pulse Research of Portland, Ore., included 100 interviews. The results were not favorable. Only 9.7 percent of those interviewed thought Bremerton was a good place to live, while 12.9 percent thought of as only a Navy town and another 12.9 percent thought it was a “struggling older city.”

In the poll, 40 percent of those called had some comments about Bremerton: “They don’t care for it; They have no respect for the city; They think we’re garbage; They think it’s small and dinky ... ”

These comments, keep in mind, were from residents of the city.

Fast forward to Jan. 1, 2004.

A Puget Sound Business Journal story names Mayor Cary Bozeman as one of its top newsmakers in 2003, right up there with Washington Gov. Gary Locke, Amazon Chairman Jeff Bezos and Phil Condit, the former chairman and chief executive officer of The Boeing Co.

“Under Bozeman, the city has made visible progress revitalizing its downtown business district, which has struggled since major retailers pulled out in the 1970s and 1980s,” the article in the business journal states.

The article sites the construction on the conference center and the government complex as signs that things are looking up for Bremerton.

The Seattle Times also has recently called Bozeman and the city of Bremerton as one of the Regional Business Leaders of the Year for 2003.

The city’s been getting a lot of ink lately, and it just may be enough to make its critics retreat.

Hopefully, under strong leadership and a commitment to the residents, the city of Bremerton will continue to improve.

It would be interesting to take another telephone poll, similar to the one done in 1999, now.

Would they still think we’re garbage?

Would they still think Bremerton is small and dinky?

No, we don’t think so. Some more likely comments would be “improved” and “shows potential.”

If the city continues on its current path, it will be impossible not to notice the city is changing for the better.

To everyone involved in making Bremerton a better place to live: kudos.

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