Letters to the editor

Not on that corner

To the editor:

The city of Bainbridge Island is proposing to demolish the former police station and build in its place an 88-unit, four-story, mixed-use apartment building with underground parking on .89 acres of land.

That is a terrible idea. Not only will an important symbol of BI history be destroyed, but affordable housing will be built at the most congested intersection on BI. Once the police station is demolished, it will be gone forever. Why couldn’t it be preserved and renovated into a visitors center, the Chamber of Commerce or some other welcoming use for tourists who flood the streets of downtown and support local businesses every weekend and summer?

Constructing affordable housing on that corner will leave little open space for dogs and children. Schools are far away. So parents will have to drive them, increasing the number of cars on the road. Do we as BI residents want to see a four-story apartment building on a tiny lot at the gateway corner of the island? There is no doubt that BI needs affordable housing, but not on this corner, and not at the loss of an important symbol of local history.

John F. Burns


Sign petition

To the editor:

Bainbridge has a long and interesting history. The Suquamish built hunting and fishing camps here; early explorers visited. Then came loggers, shipbuilders, farmers and seasonal residents. The Army and Navy built bases here, of which Fort Ward played a significant role in World War II espionage. The island became the Strawberry Capitol of the Pacific Northwest, and Winslow’s downtown flourished. This history is our roots, but it also has significant economic value because preservation can enhance tourism.

The city is a member of the Certified Local Government Program, authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act to assist local governments in developing a local historic preservation program. A CLG city is required to: identify and safeguard the heritage represented by buildings and structures that reflect significant elements of the city’s history, follow historic preservation guidelines, enshrine its historic preservation program in city ordinance, and establish a historic preservation commission. It is my expectation that as a CLG, city decision-makers would consider historic preservation in their decision-making processes.

That did not happen in the city’s decision to demolish the former fire/police station. That building is a significant piece of island history (Bainbridge’s first fire station). Alternate uses were never considered; its status as an NR property was never investigated; the public was never consulted; there was no transparency. If we lose the police station, what more of Bainbridge history will be lost? Historic buildings are a non-renewable resource. Please consider signing an online petition to preserve the fire station: https://www.change.org/SavePoliceStation.

Susan S. Hughes


There’s history there

To the editor:

This message is from the 12-year (1978-90) three-term elected mayor of the city of Winslow. Winslow was incorporated in 1947 and remained the island’s only incorporated city until 1994 when it was absorbed by the city of Bainbridge Island. During that time, the building at the corner of Winslow Way and Highway 305 housed the city of Winslow. All city services were located within—administration, police, planning, executive, City Council chambers, municipal court and even for a while the fire department.

The tower was originally built for hose drying, but when fire moved out the Winslow City Council voted to turn it into a clock tower. While the tower belonged to the city of Winslow, a specific employee was assigned to make sure the time was accurate so ferry riders could depend on it. Now, of course, we use our cell phones to tell time, and ferries don’t always run on time.

Let’s start remembering this as the Winslow City Hall. One way to do that, even if the building is removed, is to retain the clock tower and install a historical marker, to remember Winslow City Hall and the city of Winslow that existed for almost 50 years.

Alice Tawresey