Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson provided updates to business leaders on projects going on in the city and greater Kitsap County at the Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday.
Erickson opened her presentation by addressing the incident at Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park on July 3.
“Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers. This has been a really difficult time for the whole community, Poulsbo, and Suquamish,” Erickson said.
Erickson noted that the incident is complicated because it has made Poulsbo the first city to address how newly passed legislation should be implemented with regard to House Bill 1064 and Initiative 940. The new legislation went into full effect on July 1.
Erickson reiterated that the City of Poulsbo is not involved in the required independent investigation and that it has as much information as does the public on the incident at this point.
“We ask that everyone remain patient and calm as the investigation unfolds. When it has concluded, the City of Poulsbo will review it and take appropriate action,” Erickson said.
Erickson then addressed business owners and leaders about updates in and around Poulsbo.
Erickson noted the Poulsbo Event and Recreation Center (PERC), a proposed recreational facility, ranked second among the projects the Kitsap Public Facilities District is evaluating for grant funding. The City of Poulsbo submitted an application for a $300,000 grant.
Erickson also addressed upcoming improvements to the SR 305 corridor, noting that construction to build a roundabout will begin this spring on the Johnson Way and SR305 intersection.
“This will be one of seven roundabouts on 305,” Erickson said.
Erickson also noted that an underground pedestrian path will connect to Lemolo Shore Drive at this intersection.
“We want to commission some public art for this area. When we do public things like this, we really want art to be a part of it,” Erickson said.
Erickson then discussed Poulsbo’s future relating to affordable housing, mental health, and expansion over the next 30 years.
Erickson recognized the recent achievements of some families in Port Orchard who built their own homes through a self-help program supported by a Housing Kitsap program.
Two years ago, forty families in Poulsbo were able to build homes through the same process in the Summerset neighborhood on Viking Avenue.
‘“I want to see more of that,” Erickson said.
Erickson also said two homes in Poulsbo have been converted into boarding houses and that the city is working toward having three more.
“It’s a sustainable business model that worked in the ’30s and ’40s and can work now,” Erickson said.
Erickson also noted that the recent passage of House Bill 1406 could give the city the ability to build more affordable housing in Poulsbo.
HB 1406 allows cities and counties to keep a portion of the state sales tax they collect and have it reinvested into housing. Poulsbo is expected to collect $34,000 annually.
Regarding mental health, Erickson praised the work of mental health professionals working with the Poulsbo Police Department and are called in to assist police when dealing with mentally ill individuals.
“Part of the reason why we don’t have people on the streets is that these professionals find places for these folks to go to get the care they need,” Erickson said.
Erickson closed her presentation with a discussion on what kind of growth Poulsbo is expected to have by 2050.
“We are always planning for the future in city government,” Erickson said.
Studies suggest that by 2050, Poulsbo will double in size from just over 11,000 people to 24,000 — begging the question: what is the city doing to pave the way for this growth?
According to Erickson, the city is beginning to look into expanding the Urban Growth Area.
“I don’t imagine people want to see five- and six-story buildings in Poulsbo, so we need to find more land,” Erickson said.