Mercer Island Nabs City Planning Director from Bellingham

The Bellingham Herald reports that “Planning & Community Development Director Tim Stewart will leave the city to take a job with the city of Mercer Island.” Chief lures on our part for Stewart seemed to be a shorter commute (Stewart lives in Seattle) and a higher salary.

Open letter to our new Director of Development Services:

Welcome! We’re really glad you’ve come. Downtown Mercer Island is a hodgepodge of development with a few great businesses (Bennett’s, Island Books, Six Walls, Cellar 46) but no real walking section. Even the Starbucks is known for its drive through!

Our prime real estate in the middle of downtown is dominated by banks and real estate agents, neither of which are fun to browse on a Saturday afternoon. We could learn a lot from Fairhaven and other parts of Bellingham. Please help.

P.S. Please bring us a killer brewpub like Boundary Bay too.

Photo credit: hopeisalot on Flickr.

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5 responses to “Mercer Island Nabs City Planning Director from Bellingham

  1. While I understand your cry for help with the hodgepodge in the Town Center, I’m afraid it will take much more than the talent and enthusiasm of a new City employee to do much good. Decades of (perhaps well-intentioned) planning, codification, blah, blah, blah… has resulted in concrete canyons with walls of completely uninspired architecture. A glance down any of these canyons on any day, at any time, reveals a line of vehicles, like a mechanized stream following the ravine, and only rarely an actual pedestrian. It’s basically a ghost town. If the citizens of Mercer Island want something more remarkable, it will take the energetic visions of many, and changes in the behavior of the vast majority.

  2. We desperately need some interesting businesses in the center. I hope that the Development Director is, somehow, able to help. I walk through the canyons most days to catch the bus and can attest that there are other peds wandering about.

    I’m interested in working to build character on the island, I hope I’m not alone. I think there are some simple things that could be done — like adding back some of the original street names. And, some more complicated things — like turning the Luther Burbank waterfront powerhouse into some kind of cafe/coffee shop.
    Those are just a couple ideas (and they may be lousy) but I’m sure we can help.

  3. mercerislandblogger

    Bill: that’s an excellent characterization of North Island. I agree it will take a big effort but it’s worth shooting for to have a great downtown.

  4. mercerislandblogger

    Very cool ideas, Ben. I love the idea of bringing back the old street names. Coffee shop in Luther Burbank, bike shop downtown, local bakery… all of these would help.

  5. Pingback: The State of Downtown: Groundswell Growing (and Condos Opening) « Surrounded By Water: A Mercer Island Blog

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