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‘Vision’ heads to city council

POULSBO — Before Monday’s “visioning” workshop, Mayor Donna Jean Bruce hoped for two things: lots of people and diverse voices from across the community.

Bruce’s wishes were partially granted as 25 people gathered at the Poulsbo Library to express their ideas for the city’s future.

“We had many of the same people as we had at the June 4 meeting, but we had a few different people as well, so I’d say it went pretty well,” Bruce said after the meeting. “Now it’s up to the council to see what they want to do.”

All seven city council members, along with familiar faces like Bill Austin, Muriel Williams and Jack Webb, stirred the discussion that was dominated by the pressing need for downtown parking.

“Sorry, madam mayor, I was late because I couldn’t find a parking spot,” joked Austin as he addressed the rest of the group.

Relocating city hall and the police station could play an important role in resolving the parking problem that currently exists in downtown, Austin commented.

“There are only 17 parking spaces downtown along Front Street and I would like to make it a walking street and have 3rd Avenue as a bypass,” he explained.

A four-story parking garage could be constructed where the police station is currently located and another one could be built somewhere else in town, he continued.

“Poulsbo is a destination town and it should be set up for that,” Austin remarked.

The idea of redoing 3rd Avenue is not a new idea and in the past there were plans to make it a one-way street, recalled Poulsbo resident Jack Webb.

While moving city hall is something that needs to be done, the facility should remain in close proximity to downtown, Webb said.

“If we move it too far, our city officials might not find reasons to go downtown and look around, and I think we would lose a lot by doing that,” Webb explained.

While he agreed that many of the ideas presented by concerned residents had merit, Public Works Director Jeff Lincoln cautioned the group about getting too far ahead of the process.

“We’ve got all the right pieces what we need to know is what is your vision for this city,” Lincoln said. “It’s about what you want your community to be.”

Once the city staff has the community’s vision and direction from the mayor and council, architects and engineers can be brought into flesh those ideas out and present them to the community, he continued.

“All of these things need to be done in detail and I think the problem is you’ve already decided that,” he commented.

Poulsbo resident Ardis Morrow echoed Lincoln’s observation and expressed her appreciation for the city’s efforts to seek public comment.

“I think what we had at our June 4 meeting was great and I think the next step should be bringing the experts in and having them work it out,” Morrow explained. “Then we can say that’s what we want and what we don’t want.”

At the conclusion of the meeting Mayor Bruce thanked all those who attended and expressed their vision for the city.

“What we need to do know is take all of this and present it to the council and put it into a strategic plan, so we don’t do anything piece meal,” Bruce concluded.

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