Citizen involvement key to success of Port

By Bob McChesney, Executive Director, the Port of Edmonds | Feb 17, 2011

This week’s column is a tribute to the hundreds of ordinary citizens who have helped the Port of Edmonds become what it is today. Many have been boaters, including marina tenants, but others have simply been people who care about the community.

For the most part they have been residents who live and pay taxes in the Port district.

For the Port, citizen help goes all the way back to the late forties. A group of locals began meeting to see what could be done to create a safe boat harbor.

As a result, in 1948, the residents voted to form the Edmonds Port district. Since then, there has scarcely been a period when the local citizenry hasn’t played an active role in determining the future of the Port.

Over those sixty-plus years, there have been numerous advisory committees and task groups. At one time or another, just about every sort of elected official and community leader stepped forward to help.

But the real heroes were the local citizens who were willing to give of their time, knowledge and wisdom to help make the Port and the waterfront a better place for all of us.

In late 2000, when we were developing our current long range strategic plan, hundreds of local citizens came out to a series of open meetings with no greater reward than a cookie and a cup of coffee.

They helped us sort through myriad options for what the Port of the future should be and how it should look. The clear vision these discussions provided was instrumental in fleshing out our plans.

A little over two weeks ago we held the second meeting of the Harbor Square Steering Committee. This is a group of citizen volunteers—each with a particular expertise—who have agreed to help with the planning for the redevelopment of the Harbor Square business complex.

They will probably meet one more time before we hold an open house for the general public.

At that time the committee and consultants will unveil their agreed-upon concept for the look and direction of the Harbor Square of tomorrow and your input will be sought.

The exact date for the event is yet to be determined, but it will likely be sometime in late March or early April.

We will publicize it on the Port’s website, in the media and in this column.

Meanwhile, the Commissioners and I, as stewards of this valuable public asset, would like to thank you for your help and involvement over the years. It is important that we continue to hear the voices of the people we serve.

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