What kind of community is Silverdale?

It was 130 years ago that the first plat map for Silverdale was filed with the county

It was 130 years ago that the first plat map for Silverdale was filed with the county. That platted area is now Old Town.

What kind of community is Silverdale today? The Central Kitsap Reporter will explore that question in an upcoming series of stories.

In the millennia preceding the Treaty of Point Elliott of 1855, what is now Silverdale was part of the Suquamish nation, with several communities centered around the water. Dyes Inlet was the heart of community life.

From the 1880s to 1980s, Silverdale was largely a farming and logging community, with what is now Old Town as the center of community life.

Then, in 1985, Kitsap Mall opened and the course of community development changed. Silverdale’s population grew from 7,600 in 1990 to 15,800 in 2000 to 19,200 in 2010 to more than 20,000 today.

Today, can people say of Silverdale, “There’s no ‘there’ there,” or can they readily identify the center of community life? What are the challenges we face as we plan for the future? There are places of natural beauty in Silverdale, but shellfish can’t be harvested because of nearshore pollution. Silverdale continues to grow, yet County Commissioner Ed Wolfe warned at a recent meeting of the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Committee that the money is not available to cover the cost of improving local roads. Silverdale is a regional retail destination, yet small businesses struggle amid big box stores.

In our series, we’ll explore the evolution of Silverdale as a community and the challenges that face us as we plan for the future: economic, education, environment, inclusiveness, open space preservation, resources, roads, and social and human needs. Our intent is to help identify potential stumbling blocks in Silverdale’s future and spur public dialogue on ways that Silverdale can build and maintain a sense of community that is so vital to quality of local life.

If you have some thoughts about challenges that need to be addressed in Silverdale, write rwalker@soundpublishing.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

— The Central Kitsap Reporter editorial board consists of Terry Ward, publisher; Donna Etchey, general manager; Richard Walker, managing editor; and Bob Smith, editor.