Chamber group seeks economic diversification

The Silverdale Chamber is ramping up efforts to help Silverdale grow.

The chamber is meeting Wednesday, Nov. 13, to discuss its mission in the community and to present its new Economic Vitality Task Force.

The seven-member task force will recommend specific projects to the chamber board to enhance the local economy.

The force will oversee these projects and “Guide their development,” said Kevin Wojcik, board member and task force leader.

Proposed members include Capt. Duane Baker, U.S. Navy; Norm McLoughlin, executive director of the Kitsap County Housing Authority; Larry Thomas, Central Kitsap Reporter publisher; David Johnson, Westsound Bank; Mike Walton, Acceleration Corp.; Sam Granato, chamber executive director; and Green.

The budding task force has already identified projects ranked short-, mid-, and long-range. The task force is being encouraged to “Think outside the box,” officials said.

The initial list of possible projects include:

l Major convention/conference center — Silverdale does not have such a center able to accommodate 500 or more participants, said chamber officials. The Bremerton waterfront conference center (under construction), the Silverdale Hotel and Admiral Theatre in Bremerton can accommodate only about 250. The Howard Johnson Hotel in Bremerton can hold 400. Many major groups wanting to hold conventions are turned away, said Wojcik. A waterfront site adjacent to the Silverdale Hotel is under consideration as a long-range project that will accommodate 500-plus.

l U.S. Navy Academy, western graduate campus — With major Navy installations in the greater Silverdale area, task force members are looking at enticing a college campus in Silverdale for the military. Such a school would concentrate on graduate studies of undersea warfare, weapons development, and facilities and command management.

l Center for agriculture, animal husbandry and aquaculture — The historic and still functioning Petersen Farm north of Silverdale

Navy post-graduate school pondered for Silverdale area.

with its Clear Creek Trails connection offers the opportunity to develop a center to study crops and salmon preservation. (Long-range project.)

l Branch campus of the Pacific Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies — Located in Seattle, the college is looking to expand. The institute is a non-profit education center for professional mariners, both military and civilian, from around the globe. (Mid-range.)

l Silverdale Sales Event — The chamber wants to involve merchants in a communitywide spring sales event. It would be a day or week in which merchandise would be significantly discounted. The event would be aimed at outsiders to show them how many unusual businesses are in Silverdale in addition to the mall and Costco. (Mid-range.)

l Business Issues Survey — The chamber could conduct a formal and extensive survey of area businesses; what those businesses desire in the present and hope for in the future; specific issues such as minimum wage, wage levels in Silverdale, how many jobs may be lost to the minimum wage increase in January when it’s set at $7.01 per hour. (Short-range.)

l Economic Vitality Conference — The conference is planned for 2003 (at a date to be set) and will discuss, among other things, the tentatively planned Community Campus proposed for the Old Town area. (Short-range.)

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