A second meeting to gather public input on the design of the proposed Gateway Center took place on Dec. 1 at Aberdeen's Rotary Log Pavilion.
Proponents of the center tout the potential economic benefits to the Grays Harbor area of housing the various agencies involved in economic development matters under the center's single roof. The creation of the center would streamline the process for those seeking to start or relocate businesses to the area, those in support of the center argue.
Those in attendance were treated to a short video that featured local officials and personalities speaking in support of the project. According to statements made in the video, the project will not result in increased taxes to county residents and is intended to be funded entirely through other means, namely private investment and grants.
Lead project architect Matthew Coates recalled that the initial meeting on the design of the Gateway Center building held in early November had attracted between 40 to 50 attendees and that an additional 170 people had participated in an online survey as to their preferences for the building's design.
"I think the common thread that we saw in most people's comments was the history of this community is important," Coates said of the public's feedback, "but at the same time there was not a preponderance of evidence that we want to recreate history ... There were several people who said we want historical reference with a modern twist. That's the comment we heard time and time again ... Honoring the past, but also looking to the future."
With that input in mind, Coates briefly introduced four basic design options for the building that have been developed, which he indicated are still very preliminary and subject to further changes based on the public's comments.
The first, he said, draws inspiration from old photos of stacked lumber.
"This one is intended to be a marriage between traditional use of materials, such as brick and timber, manifested in a little bit more of a contemporary style," Coates explained of the first option.
The second option Coates described as being informed by large shed-like structures that were used in the past for drying lumber, while the third option is inspired by portable housing units once utilized by loggers and which were transported by rail.
The fourth option, Coates stated, is intended to evoke historic buildings in the area, particularly the Aberdeen Museum of History, but with one side of the building taking a more contemporary turn.
The four design proposals can be viewed and commented on at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GatewayCenterSurvey2.
The video presented on Dec. 1 is available for viewing at http://graysharborgateway.com/gateway-center-video/.
Final design proposals will be presented to the public on Jan. 5 at the Rotary Log Pavilion from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.