An island's Year in the Review

Like the first act of a play,

the first half of 2001 laid groundwork for what did, or may, come later.

A campaign was launched to turn the 55-acre Wyckoff property on the south shore of Eagle Harbor into a public park, and a group envisioned using some of the property as a memorial to the island’s Japanese-Americans, who were evicted during World War II.

The city council approved what was temporarily the most discussed and criticized project in recent island history – a traffic roundabout at the busy intersection of Madison Avenue and High School Road.

The Harbor Commission developed a comprehensive but controversial anchorage plan for Eagle Harbor aimed at recognizing and preserving the liveaboard community, which generally opposed the measure.

Two citizen-generated projects came to fruition – the opening of the Kids Up! playground at Battle Point Park and the Marge Williams office center on Winslow Way.

And the island lost perhaps its most renowned citizen in March, when former Review editor Walt Woodward died at age 91.

Here’s a look back at the first half of 2001:

January — What had been planned as Winslow’s largest-ever development project fell out of local hands in bankruptcy court, when a Seattle development firm outbid a local partnership for the five-acre Winslow Landing property immediately north of the ferry terminal. Plans for 225 residences and 60,000 square feet of commercial and retail space in 12 buildings were scrapped.

A consultant’s report showed that Bainbridge had more than ample water to support projected population growth to “build-out” – the projected population if all existing island land was developed to the the limits allowed by present zoning.

The Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council launched an ambitious five-month inquiry into “popular culture and the American character,” a series consisting of lectures, films, exhibits and performances.

The city council, on the recommendation of city engineers, decided to install a traffic roundabout at the intersection of High School Road and Madison Avenue.

February – A reclusive 92-year-old was found dead after an overnight search by over 50 police and volunteers in a corner of his north-end property. Robert Rockwell died of natural causes.

The city decided to lease a tract of land east of the BPA playhouse to the Bainbridge Island Historical Society to enable the group to move its museum downtown from its present location in Strawberry Hill Park.

A late-winter storm dropped eight inches of wet snow on the island, closing schools and snarling traffic, but causing only minimal disruption overall. The island also escaped significant damage when the magnitude 6.8 Nisqually earthquake rattled the area.

March – Former Bainbridge Review editor and publisher Walt Woodward died March 13 at age 91. Woodward’s support for the island’s Japanese-American citizens in the face of the government’s World War II orders removing them from the island to internment camps – thinly fictionalized in the novel “Snow Falling on Cedars” – won him national and international recognition. Woodward’s funeral service and a community memorial service were televised in Japan.

The island’s Interfaith Council and Japanese-American community proposed a memorial to the World War II exclusion at the foot of Taylor Avenue on the south shore of Eagle Harbor, the spot where the island’s Japanese-American citizens were evacuated.

20,308 of us resided here

as of April 1, 2000, showed the official census results – a 28 percent increase over the 15,850 residents in 1990. The result surprised some city officials, who believed the population would be much larger – perhaps as much as 25,000.

April – The Bainbridge fire department approved buying a ladder truck, to be named for long-time fire fighter Arnie Jackson.

An anchorage plan for Eagle Harbor that would require liveaboards to tie on to mooring buoys was generally panned by the liveaboard community as an infringement on their freedom, but some Harbor Commissioners said such a plan was the only way to allow the community to continue.

Bainbridge park commissioners renamed the Boy Scout camp at the corner of Park and Dingley avenues Camp Yeomalt. The three-acre site had been named Camp Hopkins for a former scout leader, but was changed at the request of some island residents. Hopkins was a vocal opponent of the island’s Japanese-Americans returning to Bainbridge after World War II.

State securities regulators ordered Bainbridge-based Health Maintenance Center to stop selling stock, saying HMC did not file a registration statement providing investors with adequate information. Regulators at that time estimated stock sales of $9 million.

May – After months of wrangling, the state legislature permitted 20 percent ferry fare increases, but otherwise did nothing to resolve the state’s transportation crisis.

A citizen committee recommended that the 55-acre Wyckoff superfund site on the south shore of Eagle Harbor be placed into public ownership after the EPA finishes its cleanup.

Mayor Dwight Sutton announced that he would not seek re-election to a second term.

The Marge Williams office complex opened as a home to five island non-profit organizations. The Bainbridge community contributed enough money to buy the Winslow Way building from the estate of Williams, a former city council member who was murdered in 1998.

The Kids Up! playground, designed by island youngsters and assembled by volunteers, opened in Battle Point Park.

June – American Marine Bank announced plans to dramatically expand and remodel its Winslow Way headquarters.

The new pool being built at the aquatic center was named for Don Nakata, former president of the Town and Country Thriftway market group, who died in 2000.

Bainbridge High School graduated a class of 278 seniors.

Planning Commissioner Darlene Kordonowy joined Park Board chairman Chris Llewellyn in the race to succeed Dwight Sutton as Bainbridge Island mayor.

The second part of “An island’s Year in the Review” will appear in the Dec. 29 issue of the Review.

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