By Michael Gentry
PORT ANGELES - Never at a loss for a conversation about fresh ideas, Paul Cronauer is also thinking, "Fresh Fish". On top of that, he sees The Landing as an emerging "energy lab", and not all the energy is the kind you get from a plug.
Cronauer has surrounded himself with an eclectic mix of energetic tenants who support an innovative and organic approach to economic development, urban planning and design that sells. The Landing's tenants cover a full spectrum of businesses and organizations including NOAA's Marine Sanctuary offices, the State Attorney General, an architect and an engineer, two restaurants and a wine bar, the non-profit Center for Community Design, hair stylist, psychologist, Olympic Coast Discovery Center, photographer/graphic designer, art galleries, gift shop, dock for Expeditions NW's adventure marine tours, and the proposed Fish Market at the Landing.
Standing in the space he envisions as the next smallest step towards economic independence for a struggling waterfront economy, Cronauer is taking the lead as the town's developer who is putting his money into "things to do on the harbor".
Cronauer is quick to acknowledge that, "if you listen carefully, people are really aware and intelligent about not just what might work in business, but also what the 'software' is that's needed to recover, rethink, and reestablish reasons that someone would want to visit, shop, and even decide to live in Port Angeles." He said that although he's been thinking, with anticipation, about this fish market project for many years, he's also had to endure paying for permits and construction, and overcoming delays imposed by government and lenders. However, with the help of the Center for Community Design, the vision is becoming clearer than ever. Working with C4CD and using blazingly quick breakthrough thinking and doodling sessions, Cronauer is able to capture the energy of his plans in graphics that keep everyone excited and on track toward his goals.
Another idea that has come out of the Center for Community Design, while doing design work on a concept for a new Black Ball ferry terminal and thinking about the experience of arrival and departure in Port Angeles Harbor, is that of 'Romance on the Waterfront'. Our team wondered why the romance couldn't start until people arrive in Victoria. "Why couldn't the passion begin here in Port Angeles?" So we addressed that by surrounding ourselves with the romance of good design.
"Bottom line," Cronauer said, "is that residents and visitors alike will have more reasons to visit the waterfront as it becomes a more vibrant part of Port Angeles."