For local news coverage of this Vision to Action see this story in the Anacortes American.
CCLR’s past Vision to Action engagements (Skamania County, WA; Gresham, OR; Fairbanks, AK) have mostly focused on a single site. Anacortes, Washington’s big vision involves an entire stretch of waterfront along the Guemes (GWEE-mas) Channel. Historically an industrial, working waterfront, the Guemes Channel today is home to four non-operational former canneries, two ferry terminals (one run by Skagit County and the other by the Washington State DOT) and important natural and research areas, including critical salmon habitat.
Separating Fidalgo Island (home to Anacortes) from Guemes Island (unincorporated Skagit County), the Anacortes community has long had hopes that the Guemes Channel could be transformed into a community asset. On Tuesday, November 14th, 64 community members packed the senior center and joined the City of Anacortes Parks and Recreation Department, Maul Foster Alongi and CCLR to kick off a Vision to Action process focused on the Guemes Channel waterfront.
Parks Director Gary Robinson discussed the history of the channel, including local discussions about a potential waterfront trail. Because the Guemes Channel is home to a mature residential community, Gary noted, any redevelopment will have to be sensitive to private property owners and their rights. With those guidelines, MFA’s Mike Stringer set the tone: “Our goal is to have you tell us what you want, rather than for us to present you with a decision that’s already been made.”
After a scene-setting presentation, the attendees dove into the visioning process, marking maps and brainstorming. Comments and feedback noted the need for more environmental information. A trail, small retail establishments, food vendors, historic plaques, bike rentals and a non-motorized boat launch were just a few of the ideas that participants noted they’d like to see along the Guemes Channel. There was also agreement that parking needed to be addressed. There were also some mentions of economic development in the form of aquaculture and light industry, and still other participants noted the unique ecological character of the area, and the need for a detailed examination of natural resources and habitats.
A group of students from the Anacortes High School Green Club also provided feedback. Their visions included trails, retail and a unanimous agreement on the importance of restrooms.
An architect will now produce renderings based on participants’ feedback. Vision to Action will return to Anacortes on January 17th, 2018 to share these images with students and the public.
Click here for the presentation.
Explore pictures from the workshop.
CCLR's work is funded by a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields Program, and from contributions from foundations and supporters. Many thanks to Anacortes Parks Foundation for making this important event possible!