(Project Consistency with "Sustainable Design" Goals)
For three days in June, 2010, the people of Coos County participated in a series of intensive open-invitation community charrettes led by an invited multi-disciplinary Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) sponsored by the American Institute of Architects. The process was designed to elicit a wide range of local perspectives and information, from which the visiting professionals could identify key issues and recommend strategies for a more sustainable local future.
The final SDAT report was issued in November, 2010. For your convenience, those portions of the report that appear particularly relevant to this project are summarized/quoted below, with page citations to the entire report. (A copy of the entire report is also supplied, only for convenience if desired). In general, the SDAT report provides exceptionally strong reinforcement for the planned site, program, design and goals of the Coos Historical & Maritime Center as developed since 2004.
"The existing foundations of the local economy have ceased to function as drivers for future growth."; "Coos County’s traditional economic base that revolved around timber, commercial fishing, and shipping operations has become a ghost of its former self." p 12
[The relatively small lots and comparatively shallow channel that characterize the downtown waterfront are not suitable for modern maritime industrial needs; deep-draft maritime industry has relocated closer to the ocean, leaving only barge and tug traffic in the upper bay:] "The result is empty and underutilized waterfront areas and lost opportunities." 54. "The community lacks an identity and a focal point."p 20
[Virtually every visitor to the area arrives via the Highway 101/downtown waterfront corridor, but] "deteriorated community gateways along Highway 101 inhibit tourism and development." p 28. "Downtown cores are an essential element in the regional reinvention process, and…the community should focus its future investments in their vitality" p 20.
Demographic change: [As industrial employment has declined,] "Coos County has drawn civic-minded older adults willing to invest their time, energy and money in the community’s well-being, along with a growing number of enterprising young people who can create 21st century businesses." p 76
Challenge: "[T] he region must seek to build new models of economic vitality that enhance the existing community fabric, build on its historic resources, and leverage new opportunities strategically. The main challenge facing the region today regards its ability to reinvent itself, develop a sustainable economic base, and renew its sense of community identity." p 12
Plan and implement projects that "value, preserve, and enhance places that the community cherishes," and "…create a strong sense of place such that residents, especially youth, who already don’t want to leave can afford to stay and live here." p 33.
Build on existing inherent strengths, such as "abundant natural resources; recreational opportunities and scenic beauty; hardworking, self-sufficient, outdoors-oriented people; and interlinked organizations committed to maintaining quality of life." p 27
"[L]ocal resources that form the basis for a unique quality of life [include] a beautiful and varied landscape, a common heritage and folklore, and a series of downtown communities that not only provide authentic community centers for future commerce, but can serve as the hub for the community’s production of its self-image and identity. p 91
"Develop a unique brand for Coos County, emphasizing local products, history, and places, that distinguishes it from other similar towns and regions on the coast…Tourists will be attracted to Coos County to experience intact ecosystems (ecotourism) and working landscapes (agritourism) when the region has developed a meaningful sense of place."p 36
[The vacated formerly industrial lots on the down town waterfront] "provide enormous opportunities for community building." p 55
[T]he most important asset to the county’s future health is…its downtowns [which] are an essential element in the regional reinvention process...and play an important role in the establishment and maintenance of a clear community identity. . Downtowns and village centers are absolutely critical if the region is to retain and attract young people." p 51
Access to the water is "Coos County’s single most valuable resource": "The waterfront, already so much improved in downtown Coos Bay and in downtown North Bend, can continue to be improved to serve residents and visitors and provide a focal point to the community"; …"provide public access to the water and rely on water assets…" p 54.
The planned bay front Center and large outdoor plaza, immediately visible from the Highway, adjacent to the downtown historic waterfront district, and in the midst of currently blighted industrial lands, implement the recommended strategies and capitalize on our most promising opportunities, by greatly enhancing the visibility of and public access to our beautiful, clean bay and working waterfront's fishing boats, oyster harvest, and passing tugs and barges, and by serving as a central staging area for discovery of the region. The design fosters collaboration among a wide range of cultural, educational and civic groups with flexible spaces that can accommodate a range of events, activities and community festivals in the area's only waterfront indoor-outdoor venue. The core functions of our organization celebrate precisely the unique and inherent strengths on which we can build our future