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Gig Harbor, WA - The Downtown Waterfront Alliance (formerly GHHWA) has announced a partnership with the University of Washington to review the buildings and other physical aspects of downtown. The program will start June 27th and be completed on August 22nd when a report and book of recommendations will be presented.

Ten graduate students and seniors in Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture will spend their summer reviewing downtown buildings, properties and open spaces. They will get input from an advisory group of citizens and will develop ideas to improve the downtown structures.

This UW “Storefront Studio” program has previously reviewed 18 other small communities over ten years. Last year Vashon Island was reviewed and they are just completing Fall City. Reports on previous projects can be reviewed at the website.

Waterfront Alliance President, Gary Glein, said “we are privileged to be selected for this review particularly as it is a natural follow-up to last year’s City visioning process, and this year’s downtown image and market potential reviews”. This will give us creative ideas to improve downtown for business, boaters and all our citizens. The program sponsor is Helix Design Group of Tacoma who will help in funding the project (

A steering committee has been selected. It includes project manager, Brett Marlo DeSantis, Brett Marlo Designs, Inc.; Jim Castino, Architect; Al Abbott, CarrotStick Marketing; Lita Dawn Stanton, City of Gig Harbor; Peter Stanley, Tides Tavern; Blake Merwin, Gig Harbor Fly Shop; Missy Hill, Helix Design Group; Gary Glein, Downtown Waterfront Alliance; Nick Tarabochia, property owner; David Fisher, Architect; and Mary DesMarais, Downtown Waterfront Alliance.

The Downtown Waterfront Alliance is a certified Main Street program with a mission to promote economic vibrancy consistent with maintaining the historic character of downtown. Mary DesMarais is the Executive Director of this community non-profit organization.

Photo’s from past projects:

Carnation – Proposed Façade (2009) Vashon – Proposed Streetscape (2012)