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Council grants $6,000 for downtown care

Downtown Winslow is the gateway to Bainbridge for many visitors coming off the ferry.

As such, some in downtown have asked the city to chip in to keep it looking nice and welcoming.

City Manager Doug Schulze brought the issue to the council at its Wednesday meeting. Schulze was approached by officials with the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association and asked if there was anything the city could do to pitch in for downtown’s ambiance and upkeep, specifically summer upkeep of the flower baskets and trash cans.

The city manager in turn took the matter up with the city council where it found unanimous approval.

“I happen to believe the city should be in the business of maintaining our downtown street,” said Councilwoman Kirsten Hytopoulos. “These are minimal tasks. I regret that we have not been participating in this.”

Currently, the trash cans along Winslow Way are kept tidy thanks to volunteer help from Sustainable Bainbridge.

Other aspects of the street have also been aided by volunteers, such as last year when high schooler Dylan Lehotsky gave up his early summer mornings to water the hanging flower baskets.

Schulze estimated that the work, classified as seasonal labor, would amount to 20 hours per week.

Instead of modifying the budget, the council decided to take $6,000 out of its own contingency fund to pay for the seasonal work.

“This is starting down the road of economic development,” Councilman Steve Bonkowski said. “You have to have a good-looking downtown. I don’t know why we cut it out in the past.”

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