The City of Aberdeen’s downtown redevelopment consultant Cary Bozeman gave the City Council a progress report Wednesday night on his first 90 days on the job and laid out plans for the next 90.
The Bozeman Group was hired in March to help the city enact several longstanding goals for the city. The Bozeman Group partnered with the Aberdeen Revitalization Movement, sharing offices together in the Grand Heron Building on South I Street.
The city and the Bozeman Group also plan to meet with the general public sometime in July, perhaps at the next meeting of the Planning Commission, the city’s Community Development Director Lisa Scott said. They also plan to hold a breakfast meeting in September with community and business leaders.
Among the nine “goals and deliverables” listed by Bozeman were a city council retreat, setting six priorities with council and city leaders, holding public meetings, key leader briefings, a three-year action plan and the hiring of a design team to do a preliminary plan for a riverfront park project. The group also met with U.S. Congressman Derek Kilmer, the Departments of Transportation, Ecology and Commerce and state legislators to talk about potential funding sources.
The top three priorities, some culled from surveys of citizens over the last several years, are to purchase and develop riverfront property and connect it to downtown, create a “bold and impressive entrance to downtown” with a visitor’s center and moderate traffic impact on downtown by adopting new urban street design standards on Wishkah and Heron Streets. The final three concern developing marquee historic buildings such as the Morck Hotel and Becker Building, bringing movie theaters and housing downtown and improving access to town as it relates to the railroad.
The group has drawn up very preliminary plans for the riverfront park along the Chehalis River roughly between F and H streets, although the city does not own the land.
Looking forward to the next 90 days, Bozeman ticked off another nine goals. Among them: work with the city to purchase riverfront property, ask the state Department of Ecology to fund environmental assessment work, prepare grant applications for the state capital budget to fund park development, meet Department of Transportation officials in Aberdeen to discuss traffic issues, meet with state legislators to review downtown plans and ask for their support. Also on the list is a meeting with potential partners in the Visitor’s Center, to develop a plan to purchase available property near the entrance to downtown and raise private and public funding to support the Aberdeen Revitalization Movement and the downtown action plan.
Bozeman’s $60,000 contract is for a year with options to extend. Private funding of $10,000 from an anonymous donor has also been donated to ARM, the 501-C-3 fund raising partner in the endeavor.
Though council members did not comment directly on Bozeman’s appearance, they applauded hanging flower baskets and pots that the Parks and Recreation Department have placed around town. Bozeman evangelizes on the benefits of putting color everywhere as part of putting a best foot forward.