Kitsap’s influential business leaders met on Friday at the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort to discuss the state of economic development in Kitsap County and honor a couple of the area’s key players.
Featured at the event was a presentation by Chris Green, the assistant director for the Office of Economic Development & Competitiveness at the Washington State Department of Commerce. Green stressed the importance of marrying rural development with job creation through programs like the Community Economic Revitalization Board and expansion of rural access to broadband internet.
At the meeting, Poulsbo mayor Becky Erickson and Wes Larson of the Sound West Group were recognized for their contributions to encourage continued economic development in their community. Erickson was named the public sector’s 2019 Economic Development Champion and Larson was given the title of 2019’s private sector Economic Development Champion.
“This was a team effort by myself, the council and the staff and everyone at the city working hard to keep Poulsbo a great place to live,” Erickson said of the award. “It’s a culmination of years of work, if you remember when I first took office in 2010, we were in the middle of a very large recession. We worked as a team, the city and volunteers, everyone working together to bring the town back.”
“It’s an award for our entire community,” Erickson said. “We fought back, we pushed and we brought back the economic vitality which we can very clearly see now.”
When asked what she saw for the future of economic development in Poulsbo, Erickson pointed to the Poulsbo Event and Recreation Center. The PERC, Erickson said, would serve as a significant attraction for visitors in search of recreational activities, additionally the center would create an opportunity for job growth and would further cement Poulsbo’s College Marketplace as an economic hub within the community.
Editors Note: Terry Ward, vice president of Sound Publishing and publisher for Kitsap News Group is a member of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance’s Board of Directors.
—Nick Twietmeyer is the editor of the North Kitsap Herald, Central Kitsap Reporter and Kingston Community News. Nick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org