Main Street has been hard at work | Word on the Street

Mari F. Mullen
Posted 8/25/21

The Port Townsend Main Street Program has been working hard in this ever-changing COVID scene to support our historic districts when the economic situation was stressed by uneasiness, business …

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Main Street has been hard at work | Word on the Street

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The Port Townsend Main Street Program has been working hard in this ever-changing COVID scene to support our historic districts when the economic situation was stressed by uneasiness, business restrictions, and the corresponding lack of foot traffic. 

Now, the tides have changed. There’s a strong resurgence in tourism and locals are also enjoying freer movement on the street and in businesses. Events are coming back, and while there is uncertainty about the future in terms of the pandemic and variants, there is also pent-up demand. People want to experience what summer has to offer. There’s vacation time, visits from friends and family, outdoor events and adventures, dining spots to try, getting reacquainted with businesses, and a desire to be out in our community while the weather is fine.

We have used this past year to plan and kick off some new initiatives to benefit our community. 

Have you noticed the new Hidden Histories signage in downtown and Uptown? This signage project was an historic effort! You can also visit pthistory.com to discover the lesser known stories of Port Townsend’s history. Thanks to the city of Port Townsend, the Jefferson County Historical Society and Olympic Peninsula Steam for partnering on this project with the Port Townsend Main Street Program.  

The program is implementing the Tourism Infrastructure Project sponsored by the city of Port Townsend and local donors. 

The project has improved the undeveloped street end by Adams Street Park and transformed it into a scenic new pedestrian space. It was designed by studioSTL which is located in Uptown. The city of Port Townsend Public Works crew laid fresh gravel, improved the shoreline access and installed the large cement pots in preparation for the streetscape amenities. There are three beautiful new benches made of Ipe (ironwood), a sustainable wood sourced locally from Edensaw Woods. 

Made by a local firm, Jaynesco Finish Carpentry, this new seating offers spectacular views of the water, ferries and all types of watercraft passing by. 

The pots are planted with succulent gardens created by and cared for by one of our Main Street gardeners. Watch for additional new Main Street tables and chairs coming soon to the downtown streetscape. Thanks to the Tri-Area Garden Grant program for supporting this project.
With the help of members of our Design Committee, Main Street workers and volunteers have been focused on beautifying our town. Thanks to the Port Townsend Main Street Tax Incentive donors, there are three new picnic tables at Adams Street Park which are getting lots of use on these sunny days. 

The self-guided PT Treasures app which outlines fun facts about Port Townsend has been receiving positive feedback. The Port of Port Townsend reports that their boaters are really enjoying it. 

We included “Grab Your Bags”—You’re Headed to Port Townsend” rack cards inside 1,000 Port of Port Townsend welcome bags for boaters and RV campers at Point Hudson. Visit iloveporttownsend.com to learn more about the campaign.

Nonprofits are key partners in keeping Port Townsend vibrant. In addition to extensive local marketing to promote businesses for the past six months, we are achieving our goal of supporting other nonprofits. 

The First Federal Community Foundation grant is helping underwrite in-person art classes for Northwind Art (ptschoolofthearts.org) and some in-person and family-oriented summer programs at the Jefferson Museum of Art and History (jchsmuseum.org).

Come be a tourist in your own back yard! Join us for free, entertaining tours featuring a Key City Public Theatre actor highlighting the Port Townsend Hidden History Signage project.

It’s a casual, interactive walk; you might even win a small prize! 

The tours take place on the first and third Saturdays of the month; meet up at 1 p.m. at the Haller Fountain. 

Visitors are back in a major way this summer, and a number of hotels are at or near full occupancy.

At some restaurants, Tuesdays are as busy as Saturdays now. For these reasons, we plan to push the outbound Seattle/Tacoma marketing campaign to third and fourth quarters to strategically drive business to the historic districts and Point Hudson.

While the pandemic has been full of struggles, there have been some positives and reasons to be thankful. 

We are grateful to everyone for supporting our local economy, for community leadership, hard-working entrepreneurs, dedicated volunteers, and for keeping strong during uncertain times. 

(Mari F. Mullen is the executive director of the Port Townsend Main Street Program.)

Comments

4 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Ben Hardesty

You are absolutely destroying this town.

Wednesday, August 25
HarveyW Colatteral Damage

Once upon a time there was a town with a soul. Ragged around the edges. Funky. No elites necessary.

Gravel, not concrete in many places. True charm.

Some arrived and did hard work that added to the soul. Some arrived and liked the feeling of something with soul, but had no desire for calloused hands.

We can administrate this, some thought. We can sell pieces of this, some thought. We can make it better. For us! And make money. For us!

The soul began looking for other unspoiled places to be funky and gravelly and real. The rest is history. The real hidden history. With smiley faces. And cheerleaders!

Call someplace paradise, kiss it good bye. Or stay, and cheer!!!!!

God bless the child that's got, or makes, their own.

Sunday, August 29
Juana Bjurnen-Hale

Rather than crank out cookie cutter useless websites for pet projects, why not DO SOMETHING USEFUL at street level for regular people? Where are the handwashing stations? Stores are NOT supposed to have the public using staff restrooms - where are the sani-cans? Where is the parking? Let's actually be helpful with some of the real issues now that there is more COVID than ever on the streets and in the shops. Be helpful! Taking down all the directory maps "because they could not be maintained" is not moving forward. HELP THE MERCHANTS survive COVID as was discussed 18 months ago for crissakes.

Tuesday, August 31
HarveyW-Collateral Damage

....and Mari, you failed to mention that the parklet at Adams and Water used to be much needed and abused parking. GRRRRRRREAT work Mari!!! We can see City Manager Mauro's hand in this with "Open Streets". Many I speak with complain of parking problems, not the need for Ipa benches etc. But the window dressing seems more important to your weaponized organization, With smiley faces all around.

Word on the Street should be changed to Life in the Bubble.

Here is a letter to City Council, real word from the street. As predicted one day of visible "enforcement" was not seen again. Yes, Tuesdays are busy, and many other days, with many business owners and employees taking limited parking all day. One day a year and "the City" can say there is parking enforcement. No plan. No education. No common sense....... Mari. Just well paid folks getting paid no matter what.

City Council-

I met Joshua Atchison this morning. The new Community Services Officer. He was doing some parking enforcement and just being visible. He was very nice, as all PT police have been over the years. One told me of the self licking ice cream cone that described to him some in City Government.

I was going to send lots of pics of neighbors hogging parking all day and the new 15 minute parking sign in the spot that XXX XXXX has taken to using all day. Why a sign when no enforcement? Joshua answered that.

Just for the record. There has never been a problem. Ask Michelle Sandoval.

I have always been careful to call parking enforcement "Fair Parking Facilitation". It never was the "Jackboot Police State" some paint it as being. Ignoring laws for special interests on Council is a "Jackboot Police State".

Education, ongoing cohesive planning with continuity, and then enforcement are all parts of Fair Parking Facilitation. There are several false premises some spew that say no enforcement is beneficial to visitors who don't even know of the non enforcement, and follow signage. I was able to answer some of those false ideas in Leader Comments over the last month or so. As I noted early on, the longer this has gone on, the more difficult it will be to fix self entitled bad habits. Mayor and public's.

We will see if this is a meaningful change or another short term stunt, as has been the case in the past. Time always tells. Perhaps a new Police Chief understands the purpose of laws and codes. And accountability.

As I have pointed out in the past, any disrespect to Council and key players over the last 7 years was a reflection. The disrespect dished out by "the City", and denial of responsibility is and was very toxic. Police Chief, City Manager, City Attorney, City Council, Main Street, and Chamber all played along and did nothing to resist the self serving, real estate benefiting destruction of true community. Sound bites have no real soul. Soul is often spoken of by some who have no clue of what makes a town have true soul. Mutual respect. Earned respect.

Anyone can see the Maritime Center expansion and Marine Science Center move to the Historic District will add to needed parking, as parking places are eliminated. The City Managers known aversion to parking and cars seems to handicap any understanding of the reality of current transportation methods. We will get there in time. It is a bigger picture than just PT. Also, no one using a walker, or coming from Hadlock to Sequim and beyond will be using a bike instead of a car soon. Things will change in time.

There is positive mitigation to be done, eliminating parking and killing business helps no one except those selling real estate.

Here is to healing a community some deny wounding. It will take time, if allowed. Fair Parking Facilitation, with information and education needs to begin anew. We are far down a road that should not have been traveled, and prohibited any true understanding of managing the evolving parking needs of PT. Free parking with condo's and building sales, and for all business owners and employees is not "sustainable". No study needed. Think for yourselves Council, and public servants, as much as is allowed. 3 new seats on Council soon. A long time negative influencer is going away. What a legacy is left to clean up.

Onward, with honesty. Change is good.

Harvey Windle-Collateral Damage

Forest Gems Gallery and Mill-

Wednesday, September 1