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Focus on taking care of marina, not on creating a new public space
It was heartening to hear Poulsbo Port Commissioner Jim Rutledge’s change of attitude at a recent board meeting. Apparently, he had come to realize the port has neither the time or money to take on additional projects.
There are plenty of concerns that need the port’s immediate attention: The breakwater, Anderson Parkway sloughing off into the marina, dredging, fuel barge, etc.
It is apparent, though, that Commissioner Rutledge is still obsessing about a public place being carved out of the city’s Anderson Parkway. He wouldn’t have mentioned it at a recent city/port meeting at City Hall if that wasn’t still a very important interest of his.
The desire for a public place is what prompted his interest in the old city hall property: put in a parking garage to relieve pressure on Anderson Parkway to make room for a public place. The problem was figuring out what to do with the rest of the property. Countless hours were spent in discussions. Consultants were hired (about $5,000) to find a need they could package to qualify for grants. Further studies were under consideration when the property sold elsewhere. Putting port funds at considerable risk to finagle for a public place in unconscionable.
The best way the Port of Poulsbo can encourage economic development is to maintain the marina in a fiscally responsible manner. I fear Commissioner Rutledge’s distraction with his dream for a public place will inhibit his and the other commissioners’ attention from the marina’s pressing needs.It would be best for all concerned for Commissioner Rutledge to step down as a port commissioner. He could then invest more time and energy into what is most important to him: a public place. And he could be replaced by someone with a true interest in the viability and maintenance of the port marina, which was the purpose for the port district’s creation.
Using public office to promote personal agendas is improper.