Port Orchard passes resolution to protect Sidney Museum

A resolution to remove the Sidney Museum as part of the planned parking garage in downtown Port Orchard was passed Tuesday night, to the delight of the museum’s supporters and board of directors.

“We’re very happy with the result,” said board president Jud Turner. “We’re relieved that it’s finally been resolved.”

The city hopes to build an underground parking garage in the Prospect Street neighborhood, which would also contain a library or a community center. Since the museum is adjacent to the proposed site, the future of the building was in doubt.

The controversy ensued when an architectural drawing that did not include the museum but portrayed its location was placed on the city’s Web site.

Since then, Turner has persistently lobbied the council for a commitment that the building would not be moved or destroyed.

In January, noting that the council unanimously supported giving the museum control over its future, Turner requested the support be put in writing.

The resolution as passed states, “The site selection for a downtown parking garage shall specifically exclude the Sidney Gallery and Museum.”

The resolution was passed unanimously.

Councilman Rob Puutaansuu said he wasn’t sure the resolution was necessary, since the current plans are preliminary and the city was not likely to force a solution onto the museum that it did not agree with.

“The museum board could have participated in this project,” Puutaansuu said. “The museum could have used this opportunity to move, or they could have leased the land under their building. They chose not to, and this council will respect that.”

The resolution is not binding, however, and could be reversed by a future council.

“The nature of politics is that everything can change,” Councilman John Clauson said. “A new council could reverse this anytime they want. But this resolution makes them feel more secure about their future, since they are not designated as part of the project.”

Turner said he is aware the decision could be reversed in the future, but said the action will help the museum secure funding from sources that would not participate if the future of the building was unclear.

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