Thursday, January 5, 2012

Island Gateway - a 2011 community success

City news dominates 2011 headlines

Bainbridge Island Review Editor
January 3, 2012 · Updated 4:36 PM  

For most people, life on the island does not revolve around the City of Bainbridge.

If you live here and work in Seattle, for example, likely half of your weekday’s waking hours are focused on a job and getting to and from it.

If you rarely leave the island, the city may have a little more to do with your day, but likely not very much.

The city’s business, however, is much more of an emphasis for those whose job focuses on letting community members know how public dollars are being spent and the direction a municipality is traveling in terms of representation.

With that in mind, one could say that the city – including its staff and council – was up to its proverbial neck in a multitude of trials and tribulations during 2011. Some of the headaches were hangovers from the recent past, including: the fatal police shooting of Douglas Ostling; the Bainbridge Ratepayers Alliance lawsuit and the fallout from it; the effect of the Winslow Way reconstruction project on downtown businesses; and dealing with several road emergencies, some of which occurred because of a lack of city maintenance in recent years.

There also were many positives, including: the city reducing the water rates by 45 percent at year’s end for its Winslow users; finishing Winslow Way in late November; signing a 30-year lease with Friends of the Farms; and many, many others – big and small.

The community also voted in four new council members, which could mean that some changes lie ahead since the newly elected officials – Anne Blair, Sarah Blossom, Steve Bonkowski and Dave Ward – campaigned on change to one degree or another. They also promised while campaigning to vet any proposed changes with the community. But that’s for next year.


The city and the community had many successes, including:

• RePower Bainbridge, which was formed as a result of the city writing three grants that were worth more than $5 million, swung into action by conducting 1,500 free home energy check-ups during a six-month period, with nearly 200 homeowners making energy-saving upgrades. There’s also an added emphasis on having more businesses and nonprofits joining the energy-efficiency movement on the island.

• Island Gateway, the new development at the corner of State Route 305 and Winslow Way, has concluded the back section of the project. Next up: construction of the Bainbridge Island Museum of Artand a retail building that will front the street. Avalara, a growing software company that’s on the island, relocated its more than 100 employees and its headquarters to Island Gateway...

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