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There are several ways to revitalize downtown | Letter
Sure, it is up to the individual shop owners and the real estate owners to maximize their potential, but I think our Oak Harbor city leadership is responsible for an aggressive plan to help stimulate the business environment in their downtown and put feet on the street.
Here are four elements of a potential plan to put feet on the street. Certainly there are scores more ideas.
1. Get the PBY Museum up and running downtown and get the PBY plane moved down off the base as well.
This can serve as an excellent attraction getting feet on the street downtown. Good job to Will Shellenberger at the PBY for getting this going and to Island Thrift for its support.
2. Build a transient boating dock in the vicinity of Flintstone Park, where there used to be a dock. This has been advocated by Helen Chatfield-Weeks for years.
Allowing visiting boaters to dock downtown to eat and shop or allowing the Victoria Clipper or a whale watching boat to dock downtown would help put feet on the street.
3. Build a multi-use apartment/condo/hotel facility in the vacant property where the carnival is usually held, bounded by Bayshore, Pioneer and Midway. Put feet on the street by putting heads on pillows in downtown. There is an individual in town who has the schematics for such a plan and is ready to review it with the city.
4. Lastly for today, implement Ron Hancock’s years-old plan for a Walk of Honor. Oak Harbor is a Navy Town and a military town. We should embrace this and stand proud.
This project is icing on the cake and will become an essential part of our identity and critical to our attractiveness.
Certainly there should be additional elements to a plan, like why are we a waterfront town with essentially no businesses taking advantage of the waterfront, not even a good waterfront seafood restaurant.
A well thought-out downtown stimulus plan should be crafted, vetted and acted upon this year. What are we waiting for — more businesses to go out of business?
I expect Bob Severns, Beth Munns and the rest of the council to lead us forward on this.
Oak Harbor Commissioners