Council seeks Visions of Silverdale's future

It’s often said that Silverdale is a place without a sense of community.

A group of civic activists and county officials will try to do something about that starting Saturday, Feb. 9, when the Vision 2022 project gets a formal kick-off.

Vision 2022 is a 20-year Silverdale planning effort that activists and officials hope will fundamentally change — and improve — the character of the community.

The project, led by members of the Central Kitsap Community Council, will touch on transportation, architectural standards, parks, open space and Silverdale neighborhoods, including Old Town. The kick-off meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m.-noon Feb. 9 at Kitsap Mall near Mervyn’s.

It’s an effort to “find Silverdale’s future,” according to Lyle Crawford, a community council member helping plan the Vision 2022 process.

Decisions made by those involved in Visions 2022 eventually will be incorporated in the Silverdale sub-area plan, part of the county’s comprehensive land-use plan. And unlike previous community planning efforts, such as the 1991 Silverdale Urban Design Study (SUDS), county officials have promised to give this effort teeth in the form of zoning regulations and ordinances.

The Feb. 9 meeting “will be the start of the process,” Crawford said, and a chance for people to get involved.

After an overview of the visioning process and some activities to identify key issues, consultants will ask for volunteers to help with what is expected to be a six-month project. Volunteers will meet, probably twice monthly, to turn the broad themes garnered from Saturday’s meeting into specific ideas.

“On Saturday, we are really looking to bring in the community, to ask their help, ask their participation in this process,” said Laura Ditmer, long-range community planning manager for the Kitsap County Department of Community Development. “It’s not the county, it’s not a particular group. It’s the community, and without that it’s not a community vision.”

The proposed new library and community center complex will be incorporated into the planning effort, as will amenities like the Clear Creek Trail and a planned bicycle trail between Silverdale and Subase Bangor. Pedestrian-friendly improvements are expected to be another theme.

An example of the sort of thing that will be discussed during Vision 2022, Crawford said, is “do we want Silverdale Way to be a speedway, or a quiet country road?”

“Architectural character, I think, is going to be a strong theme — getting away from the lack of character in strip malls,” Ditmer said.

Crawford and Natalie Bryson, another Central Kitsap Community Council member leading the effort, said they’re hoping for a diverse group of participants. Young and old, developer and environmentalist, and “different cultural eyes” all are needed to make the project a success, Ditmer said.

“The most important thing is we’re inviting the public to participate in the process,” Bryson said. “I hope they bring with them out-of-the-box ideas, things that perhaps hadn’t been thought about, that would make Silverdale a place you belonged.”

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