As the new Harbor Bridge project has moved forward, lots of residents have moved away from the Hillcrest and Washington-Coles neighborhoods.
The city councilman who represents those areas, located to the north and west of downtown, says the city’s plan for redeveloping the downtown area doesn’t do enough for those neighborhoods.
District 1’s city council seat was vacant when the council approved the Downtown Area Development Plan last month. Everett Roy, the district’s current representative, was picked to fill the seat a month later. He believes that’s why the plan doesn’t do enough for his district.
“I definitely think that it was unfortunate there was no representation,” said Roy.
Most Hillcrest residents have left in the last three years as the new Harbor Bridge started taking shape. But what’s going to happen when that project is finished?
“I think there is a good use for that land,” said Roy. “Once they’re finished with the bridge and they go back, clean up, and we’ll get a better idea.”
That could mean a new affordable housing development in Washington-Coles area. Its proximity to downtown and the SEA District would make it ideal for that, but it won’t be cheap.
“You’re going to need some money, and you’re going to need a large scale project to be successful,” said Roy. “You can’t do it by just going in and building one home at a time.”
The city’s plan doesn’t address how to pay for any redevelopment. Roy says that problem needs a solution, not empty promises from the city.
“The last thing we need to do is keep making promises to our residents and not coming through with them,” said Roy.
Roy says he’s like the city to conduct a new study of Hillcrest and Washington-Coles to better understand the area, and what uses would be best.
Roy also says because these neighborhoods areas are mostly vacant, it might be difficult to justify spending public money. He believes private-public partnerships will be necessary.