Director: PO could break ground on center next year

Change may be the only constant, but it can sometimes appear that community projects defy that axiom.

One of Port Orchard’s most significant community development projects, the Port Orchard Community Event Center, may seem to be immovable and unchanging, but that appearance is deceiving.

The center is slated to be built adjacent to the headquarters of Kitsap Bank at 619 Bay St. However, the entire project is dependent on a cascade of events, all of which are contingent on other triggers to move forward. As a result, it could appear as if the effort is static, but actually things are still moving forward in an orderly manner.

Nick Bond, director of the city’s Department of Community Development, said the linchpin for the project is completion of a final design for a road-raising project; plans are slated to be completed by May. From there, the plan will move to the hearing process. If approved, the project will then be forwarded to the state Department of Transportation. WSDOT will then shepherd the project through the federal approval process.

The federal government is involved because it has dedicated dollars to fund shoreline recapitalization through the Puget Sound Regional Council. That project, pursuant to climate change resiliency, will involve raising of Bay Street above its existing level. It’s only after that height is determined that Kitsap Bank will know how much higher its property needs to be raised. Once the bank’s plans are set, the way will be cleared for the Community Event Center to break ground.

Bond said the community could see workers moving dirt in 2025.