Letters to the Editor

Waterfront needs to be looked at with new eyes | Letter


I have had 40 years of commercial construction experience around the West Coast of the United States and many projects I was involved in were waterfront communities revitalizing their old town areas to attract more business.

Astoria, Ore. has a maritime museum which attracts a lot of tourists and locals alike.

In Alaska, it’s the cruise ship industry.

Astoria also has an indoor water park for everyone to enjoy and very good hotels on the Columbia River.

No better place to be in Astoria when it’s raining than in an 80-degree indoor water park. But you not only have to draw people, you have to keep them around a while.

The piece of land on Bayshore Drive where Oak Harbor sets up the carnivals twice a year, and otherwise sits empty, would be the perfect place for a large indoor water park.

It is low enough from Pioneer Way that it would have minimal impact on the view of the water from downtown. It could be three stories tall and still only be one story above Pioneer Way. You could have stairways connecting Pioneer Way with this area. But you also need to keep people downtown so where the old Piston Service store used to be could be a nice hotel with decks on the rooms so people could enjoy the view of the marina and Maylor Point.

It would give visitors an easy access to the water park, and they have to shop and eat somewhere, so there you go. If the city can spend $93 million on a sewage plant, take a little and invest in your citizens and businesses too.

There are plenty of young families that need things to do winter and summer.

I grew up in Oak Harbor and there wasn’t anything for kids to do then and I don’t see anything now.

Plus all ages like a nice wave pool and water slide especially in the winter. No brainer.

Coupeville got the Victoria Clipper and that could easily have happened here. Stop thinking like a small town and get into the 21st century.

A facility like that would bring people from Skagit County year-round and all over Island County. Think outside the box. Or get the Maylor Point property from the Navy for a convention center and hotel, and have the Victoria Clipper come in to the area in the summer; they have a great advertising budget you could ride on the back of.

We have to start looking at our waterfront like it’s the first time you have ever seen it. I think a lot of people are so used to seeing it they really don’t see it anymore.

There are no hotels with a view of the water and I think Oak Harbor is missing a great opportunity after all the things I have seen other small towns do and be successful at.

If I was mayor I would make it so. Good luck, Oak Harbor.

Roger Baker

Oak Harbor



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