It’s official, the downtown “revitalization ” project known as the Pioneer one way street and revitalization project has led to more empty businesses on Pioneer Way than I and many other long time residents have ever seen. I recently walked our historic downtown and was shocked at the number of empty store fronts. Many businesses have gone under since this revitalization project, some have been replaced by new businesses but many others have not. On Pioneer Way between Midway BLVD and SE City Beach Street I counted 14 empty store fronts. (See images at biottom of article).
In 2007 the board of Island County Commissioners awarded the city $1 million in Rural County Economic Development funds to help move this $8.35 million project forward and it has been everything but a revitalization or economic development success.
Hundred of pages of documentation was presented to the council about the plan and how one-way streets are detrimental to residential shopping areas. All of that evidence was ignored.