Mayor Becky Erickson will seek city council approval Wednesday evening to establish the Poulsbo Cares Grant Program and Summer Fair Concepts as well as modifications to Fjord Drive to turn it into a one-way street as part of the city’s COVID-19 response plan.
The CARES funding, which came from the federal government in the amount of $335,400 would be put toward those initiatives.
If approved, the city would set aside $6o,000 for sidewalk enlargement and changes on Fjord Drive. The council has discussed the street’s issues at previous meetings. Fjord’s relatively narrow roadway and sidewalks have long made the popular walking and cycling destination difficult for citizens to navigate, and those issues have been exacerbated by COVID-19 guidelines which recommend that folks keep six feet away from others not in their household at all times.
Given its proximity to downtown Poulsbo, the road sees a fair amount of foot traffic, which makes it difficult for walkers and runners to both practice the social distancing protocols while also avoiding cars and trucks on the roadway.
Fjord would become a one-way street southbound between Hostmark and 6th Avenue with a dedicated pedestrian lane on the northbound side of the road, which has a five-foot sidewalk as well.
“This is a public health and a public safety issue,” said City Councilmember Gary McVey, at a previous meeting. “It’s a very narrow street, it’s impossible to walk along that section, my wife and I walk that section almost every day. It’s impossible to walk along it and maintain six feet of distance for COVID requirements and stay out of traffic.”
The amount of $50,000 is also proposed for business grants available for those with Poulsbo business licenses. Businesses will have to meet a number of different criteria and can use the money for payment of rent or monthly business loans, normal operating costs included in “costs of goods sold” or “operating expense” on business income statements.
The council is also being asked to approve Erickson’s Summer Fair concept, which would allow businesses to spill out onto sidewalks and public space.