The University of Washington’s Storefront Studio class held their first open house at the historic Skansie Brothers House in downtown Gig Harbor on Wednesday. The class brings 10 graduate students and seniors from the school’s architecture, landscape architecture and planning programs to the city for the summer, to review downtown buildings, properties and open spaces and develop recommendations for historic preservation, economic development and other concerns.
The project, a partnership with the Downtown Waterfront Alliance, is based out of the historic house on Harborview Drive.
On Wednesday, the class opened its doors to the public from 4 to 7 p.m. Visitors, including members of the Gig Harbor City Council, downtown business owners and interested residents, were given personal tours of the posters on display throughout the renovated house. Each poster highlighted one of the 10 sites along the harbor that the class had identified for study, and gave examples of the kinds of design and usage recommendations that students have come up with.
The class will not complete its project until Aug. 22, and students will take comments they hear from community members at each open house into account in their final recommendations. The posters displayed last week showed only the prelimary stages of the project.
But the class has already identified several potential changes to each site, including a few large-scale public projects.
The 10 sites are the Finholm District, the Austin Estuary area near the Harbor History Museum, Eddon Boat Park, the Ancich netshed and adjacent property, Arabella’s Landing, Skansie Brothers Park, the downtown business core, the historic Washington Egg & Poultry Co-Op Building near the Tides Tavern, the lighthouse and old ferry landing at the mouth of Gig Harbor Bay and Harborview Drive itself, which connects the sites.
Proposals ranged from the small, such as expanding mixed-use storefront access at Arabella’s Landing, to the large, such as building an enclosed saltwater swimming pool at Skansie Brothers Park. Some ideas dealt with commercial construction and rehabilitation while others, such as a proposal to develop the Washington Egg & Poultry Co-Op Building into a community farmers market and gathering space, thought bigger.
Read the rest of the story next week in the Gateway.