Multiple community leaders traveled to Bremerton and Bainbridge Island on Wednesday in an effort to gain insight toward the development of the Grays Harbor Gateway Center, as well as other projects around Grays Harbor.
According to a press release, the tour included a meeting with the architectural group Rice Fergus Miller, the firm behind the Morck improvement project in Aberdeen.
The release states that the discussed “the importance of fueling economic opportunities in rural communities” with insight from leaders in Bremerton on how they revitalized a portion of their town.
“Aberdeen is the urban core of Grays Harbor just like Bremerton is the urban core of Kitsap County,” said former mayor of Bremerton and former consultant on the Aberdeen revitalization, Cary Bozeman. “We can learn a lot about the successes that have been made here to reimagine a new future for Aberdeen and the rest of the county.”
The Gateway Center and the Morck were both central to discussions during the trip, asw well as opportunities to develop along Broadway and Wishkah streets in Aberdeen.
“The Gateway Center is important because it makes a statement,” Bozeman added. “It lets people know we are moving forward, we are invested in our community, and the future is here.”
Originally imagined more than a decade ago, the Gateway Center has gained momentum in the past year with a series of public meetings held to shape the design and function of an enterprise center that will also serve as a resource for tourists seeking information about activities, events, lodging and restaurants on the Harbor.
“One of the reasons we are so passionate about the potential for this project,” noted Tawni Andrews, president of the Aberdeen City Council, “is that we’ve seen it work. We’ve seen it work in Thurston County and now we’ve seen it work in Kitsap County. It’s time we see it work in Grays Harbor.”
During the trip, the group visited a virtual tour of the Gateway Center from Coates Design Architects, and received a representation by the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association on how they became a Main Street Program, as Aberdeen has been trying to achieve.
Photo from Karen Rowe For Ward #4