The recent proposal before the Gig Harbor City Council concerning building heights has resulted in a healthy, renewed interest in the fate of our downtown waterfront. By the time this is published, the decision by the city council will have most likely have been made.
There have been good arguments on both sides of the debate; however, my purpose is to encourage those who have so actively and passionately participated in this discussion to continue this interest in additional ways — ways that will benefit the economic sustainability of the area.
Those who have opposed height change have centered their arguments mainly on the waterfront aesthetics. Their goals have been to maintain the small-town charm of the harbor and preserve the incomparable views enjoyed by all who walk Harborview Drive.
These are worthy goals, which I applaud.
On the other hand, the discussion of sustained economic vitality of the area, while not completely ignored, has taken a backseat.
As a member of the Downtown Waterfront Alliance, I would encourage everyone who has shown interest in the harbor to visit the alliance website, www.gigharborwaterfront.org, and explore other positive ways you can participate in the sustainability of the harbor.
Some suggestions from the alliance site would be:
• In addition to walking the harbor and enjoying the views, patronize the harbor and enjoy the shops and restaurants.
• In addition to signing the petition against changes to the ambiance of the harbor, sign up for the 3/50 Program (www.the350project.net). This is a national movement that encourages a participant to pick three favorite independent local merchants and spend a total of $50 a month among them.
If all 1,500-plus petition signers did that, we would have an infusion of $900,000 a year into the local economy and, more importantly, we would help insure the survivability of our small independent merchants and restaurateurs.
• In addition to joining an activist group, also join the alliance. It is open to all. We need engaged and active citizens who contribute to the alliance’s mission of historic preservation, combined with economic development. Help us to find ways to maintain this jewel of a harbor.
• In addition to using the Gateway to obtain news about our waterfront, sign up for the email Alliance Newsletter and get accurate, up-to-the-minute information about city proposals, construction updates, new businesses and downtown events.
Gig Harbor is a great city with a small-town atmosphere and an involved citizenry. But its downtown needs more support from those citizens.
Let’s take this wonderful new enthusiasm and put it to use by supporting our commercial district, not only with our words, but also with our wallets and with our deeds.Paul Kadzik is a Gig Harbor City Council member and a board member for the Downtown Waterfront Alliance.