Gateway: Opinion

Letters to the Editor, July 28

A plea to keep the historic working waterfront unchanged

Nestled on the shoreline in Gig Harbor’s historic working waterfront is a little piece of yesteryear. It’s an untouched parcel of raw land, on whose corner sits an old netshed that the Ancich family used to sew their nets and prepare their boats for salmon season.

I grew up in the neighborhood surrounding Ancich Park. The names of our neighbors — from Stinson Avenue to Dorotich Street were: Jerkovich, Franich, Plancich, Bujacich, Bebich, Ancich, Stancich, Malich, Katich, Stanich, Serka, Ivanovich, Ross, Puratich, Perovich, Skrivanich and Cloud. The three-block square around this parcel was like a Croatian enclave of mostly fishing families, many of whom have held their properties now for over 100 years. Both of my grandfathers were born in Croatia and were fishermen. You can understand, I am sure, how my neighbors and I might be inclined to steadfastly defend our rich heritage from change because its value to us is immeasurable.

The city of Gig Harbor purchased the land and have called it Ancich Park. It is a favorite part of Gig Harbor’s waterfront because it showcases our fishing fleet. You could say it is the place where Gig Harbor’s quaintness earned its reputation.

When Gig Harbor crafted its Shoreline Management Plan, it designated this area a “Historic Working Waterfront” intending to preserve and protect its cultural character and the contiguous row of netsheds and docks that are home to our fleet, and in so doing bestowed upon our fishermen and our Croatian community the greatest honor.

But now the city wants to build a storage shed there for human-powered watercraft and allow the historic park to change over to a commercial and recreational use. Our great honor was short-lived and we are disheartened to think that history can be covered over with a storage shed and kayak camps. Please come see it while you can — it is a precious piece of yesteryear and it is priceless.

Karen Bujacich McDonell, Gig Harbor

Rep. Young should be rewarded for his hard work

Tuesday, March 15 was a great day for the toll payers using the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. For it was on that date this year that Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, chair of the House Transportation Committee, came before the Transportation Commission in Olympia to accept a “thank you” from the commission for her hard work in securing $2.5 million in gas tax revenue to prevent the tolls on the Narrows Bridge from being raised yet again.

There were big smiles and accolades all around the table except for the one person who single-handedly made it all happen: 26th District Rep. Jesse Young!

As a member of the Citizen Advisory Commission, appointed by the governor, I personally watched Jesse work behind the curtain, nonstop, throughout the entire legislative session first on plan 1, which morphed into plan 2 and then plan 3 and 4 until Jesse had negotiated and worked both sides of the aisle to create the first fair and equitable state contribution to help us with the skyrocketing toll rates.

We’ve had many 26th District legislative representatives from both the House and the Senate go to Olympia since the tolls went into effect in 2007, but not one of them — not one, Republican or Democrat — has been able to do what Jesse Young did this past session. The $2.5 million was a one-time contribution so we need to make sure that Jesse Young gets back to Olympia this year and continues the great work he initiated last year. He deserves our thanks and our vote this November.

Randy Boss, Gig Harbor