How should the future Harbor Square look? The Port wants to know

By Bob McChesney, Executive Director, the Port of Edmonds | Oct 28, 2010

The commissioners of the Port of Edmonds are going to extraordinary lengths to insure that the redevelopment of Harbor Square will reflect the values and ideas of the community.

Hopefully you are familiar with the public meetings we have held (and will continue to hold) to hear your thoughts and ideas about this valuable public asset bordering the Edmonds waterfront.

What you may not know is that there are actually two important groups that will be providing input to the Commission. Besides the public at large, The Port has established a blue ribbon steering committee to provide expertise in several key areas.

As it is presently structured, the steering committee comprises 11 members, exclusive of those of us representing the Port. There are highly qualified people with planning backgrounds, others with development backgrounds and some with credentials in the areas of finance, the environment and community development.

I can’t stress too highly that the steering committee is not a replacement for the public meetings. Its purpose is to supplement the community-based information that you and other residents bring to us through the public forum process.

The information gained, both from the public sessions and the steering committee, will be used to help guide our architectural planning consultants, Makers, in developing visual concepts of possible uses and configurations of a future Harbor Square redevelopment.

This entire process could accurately be defined as long range. There will be changes and redevelopment at Harbor Square in the future. The existing facilities are approaching their predictable life expectancy, so alteration, modification or complete redevelopment is not optional; it will definitely need to happen.

To help us decide what should be done in the best interest of everyone concerned—the community, local taxpayers, potential developers and, of course, the Port of Edmonds itself—we have embarked on this multi-faceted approach to hearing as many objective voices as possible.

The first steering committee meeting will be on November 22, with two others to follow. Meanwhile, for members of the public, at least two more open house meetings are being planned. When those times and places are firmed up, we will notify you on the Port website, in the media and, of course, in this column.

The entire visioning process is exciting, but perhaps more significantly, it is important. Harbor Square is a notable part of the entire near-waterfront redevelopment picture. The Port Commissioners and I want to insure that as many ideas as possible are represented and that the best of them are made available to everyone before decisions are made.

Stay tuned for the announcement of the next opportunity for public input and plan to attend. We will want to hear your thoughts and ideas.

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