As the city moves ahead with designs for its ambitious “Quincy Square on 4th” project in downtown Bremerton, an important item remains outstanding for the project’s developers and city officials: securing the naming rights.
Quincy Jones has not yet offered his blessing for the planned cityscape, envisioned as an homage to the 27-time Grammy award winning music producer and former Bremerton resident.
Plans for the redesign of 4th Street between Pacific and Washington Avenue show an outdoor performance area and flexible urban gathering space that can be blocked off to traffic during special events. It features a painted mural of the jazz trumpeter and producer on albums as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” as well as a giant lighted “Q” – Jones’ nickname.
Project manager Katie Ketterer said the architecture firm and real estate development company tasked with conceiving and building the walkable urban plaza is engaged in an effort to bring Jones, the father of well-known actress Rashida Jones, into the fold.
A video has been commissioned to spark Jones’ interest in supporting, and possibly even participating in the city’s redesign.
“It’s about how he inspired our project,” Ketterer said of the video, which is being produced with help from the West Sound Group and Rice Fergus Miller architects. “It’s about his contribution to our culture and the great philanthropic work that he’s done over the years.”
Jones, a prolific jazz musician, producer and 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, moved to Bremerton in 1943 at the age of 10 when his father worked at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard during World War II.
Jones went to Koontz Junior High School in Bremerton, where he discovered music at age 12, he told Paul de Barros of the Seattle Times in a 2008 interview. He played trumpet in the band and sang in a gospel choir.
When his family moved to Seattle after the war, Quincy commuted to Bremerton briefly to attend school, where he had been elected student body president, he told de Barros. For months, he said, he “had to get up at 5:30 every morning and get on the Kalakala, that little silver ferry.”
Jones would eventually attend Garfield High School in Seattle.
The 85-year-old music legend has recently returned to the spotlight with a popular Netflix documentary “Quincy,” a profile co-directed by his daughter that is described by the New York Times as “an affectionate and surprisingly comprehensive” look at the jazz player and music composer.
City officials said they hope to eventually receive Jones’ blessing to name the transformed street after him before the design phase of the project is complete in about a year.
“We still have a lot of time to reach him and hopefully gain his support,” Ketterer said.
Mayor Greg Wheeler said while he envisions Quincy Square as a music destination, if it turns out that the famous son of the Pacific Northwest is not on board, the project will still move ahead, albeit with variations.
“If we have to be versatile and have it converted into a nice design not with that name, that’s what we’ll do,” he said.
“Live music is something we’re short of in Bremerton,” he said. “I believe if this project is developed the way it could be, it could be that place in Kitsap County where you go for live music options.”
Gabe Stutman is a reporter with the Kitsap News Group. You can follow him on Twitter @kitsapgabe.