Hoquiam city administration hosts the first of two community ward meetings.

Roughly 30 community minded citizens were allowed to voice their concerns

Roughly 30 community minded citizens were allowed to voice their concerns at the first of two neighborhood ward meetings conducted by the Hoquiam mayor, city council and city staff in the library at Central School Monday evening.

The event proved to be a think tank consisting of a half-hour brainstorming session followed by a discussion of the ideas presented.

Topics on the table for discussion included ideas to boost the towns eye appeal, economy and tourism. One common theme was the under utilization of the Olympic Stadium. The stadium, which has an overflow capacity of 10,000 people, has historical significance as one of the oldest all-wooden stadiums on the West Coast, but has proven to be something of a burden on the city.

“The stadium costs more to maintain than it brings in each year,” said Brian Shay, Hoquiam’s city administrator. “Replacing the fire sprinklers alone will cost $150,000.”

Shay said the city even tried to give the property to the school district, but they didn’t want it. A solution proposed at the meeting was the formation of a support group to raise funds for maintenance and to organize events.

Other issues raised were the lack of bike paths and a general sprucing up of the town. Cycling greenways were proposed as an alternative to bike lanes. Such greenways involve using back streets that are safer and more scenic than major thoroughfares.

The idea of making the city’s new boat launch kayak friendly was offered. The new launch now has the capacity to moor up to 30 boats of 24 feet or less in length and is a much needed addition to the city’s waterfront, but is too high for kayaks to use. The city will look into a floating adapter for kayakers.

Hiking trails, litter enforcement and street upkeep were all brought up, as well as the suggestion to interest Boeing in Bowerman Field as the location for an assembly plant. And one local entrepreneur asked for a clarification of an old cabaret ordinance which seems to be overly restrictive and out of date. The matter was referred to the City Attorney for clarification.

The entire event had a friendly hometown feel and everyone was given the opportunity speak their mind. It was a positive and productive session that allowed city officials to connect with the public.

Community members unable to attend the meeting on Monday will have another chance to express their ideas during a second session Aug. 18 from 6:30-8 pm. at the Grays Harbor PUD Meeting Room.