Harbor Pride pursues architect input for Oak Harbor

"While several committees of Oak Harbor residents are focusing on specific, downtown project as a way to boost the economy and renew the area, one committee is taking a completely different tact.Local architect Terry LeDesky is the chairman of a committee called Harbor Pride, which he said is looking to the entire community for ways to get more people involved in making the city a better place.Public participation and community feedback is the key, he said, to making the city a livable community.While he said that Harbor Watch supports other committees that are trying to build a downtown pier or conference center, he said those efforts are often too isolated from the rest of the community.Not all of our pearls are downtown, he said. There's the schools, the library and ... the college. We have to find a way to bring all these building blocks together.LeDesky said Harbor Pride could, for example, help the residents and city leaders prioritize these different projects so that the entire community will get behind each project, one at a time.The Harbor Pride group may not be rallying around a specific project right now, but LeDesky said he's going to bring in experts to create even more projects ideas.The group is planning the ambitious kick-off event this September. Under an American Institute of Architects program, LeDesky said a group of young architects will come to Oak Harbor to meet with residents in an open forum, study the city and come up with a presentation of what the community can do to improve and revitalize itself.LeDesky said the group of architects, called Regional/Urban Design Assistance Teams, will help the community identify its strengths and challenges and create specific recommendations for projects.The first project, LeDesky said, will be something small that can be completed in six months to a year after the architects present their ideas. He said it should happen in a short time because the best way to get people involved is to have visible results quickly."

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