$755,000 is all that stands in the way of a dramatic
change in landscape at Eighth Street and Park Avenue. That
might sound like a lot but put it this way: more than $7.2 million
has been raised to create a west Bremerton recreation center the
likes of which the community has never seen.
The planned Marvin Williams Center’s latest success was a
$100,000 donation from longtime developer Tim Ryan. Larry
Robertson, pastor of Bremerton’s Emmanuel Apostolic Church and
president of the New Life Development Agency that’s building the
center, is confident construction will begin in spring 2016.
“We’re marching now,” he said. “It’s exciting to finally be
ready to start construction.”
He acknowledges there’s still some fundraising left to do but
believes the money will be there by the end of the year. Tim and
Beverly Ryan also hosted a fundraising dinner at their home that
Robertson called successful as well.
In 1962, as the universe converged on Seattle for the Century 21
Exposition — better known as the World’s Fair — Bremerton’s Rotary
Club pledged to build a new park as part of a statewide
beautification program to compliment the Seattle festivities.
A total of $2,369.32 was spent over two years to create a
park next to the old toll booth for the Warren Avenue Bridge, later
inhabited by the county’s 911 dispatchers.
“Thousands of hours of work, contributed freely by the
membership, has resulted in beautifying a spot which had been taken
over by Scotch Broom and weeds,” Rotary officials wrote in city
A contest was held to name the new park. The winner was
a Mrs. Benny Getschman, whose husband was a
Rotary club officer in the 1960’s. Sadly, I could not find
documentation of her inspiration for the park’s name. But in
one reference, it appears the park’s name is also spelled “Rotor,”
suggesting to me it was a nickname Rotarians used, frankly, because
the park’s name just rolled off the tongue a little bit better than
Keep in mind that the park in those days was
just the upper portion. Lower Roto Vista park came later, in 1996,
Puget Power & Light company, which owned the property on the
waterfront by the bridge, decided to hand it over to the city for
another pocket park.
Today, you can view the state’s largest colony
of pelagic cormorants as they nest under the Warren Avenue Bridge
Construction of Bremerton’s newest park is almost
entirely complete. The grass is growing and the trees
have been planted at Lillian and James Walker Park,
on the banks of Anderson Cove.
The city, however, is hesitant to open it just yet. Wyn
Birkenthal, director of Bremerton’s parks department, says new
grass planted there isn’t ready for people just yet.
“While we could hold an opening at this level of completion, a
danger is that citizens will consider the site open for use and the
recent hydroseeding will be exposed to foot traffic combined with
winter rains that would cause us to reseed and replant
further delaying public use of the area,” he told me.
At 2/3 of an acre, the park will give residents of this West
Bremerton area a waterfront parkland — something they’ve not had
Birkenthal also pointed out that those who advocated for the
park’s naming —
in honor of James and Lillian Walker, who helped pierce a
culture of segregation in Bremerton in the civil rights struggle —
need time to be involved in its inauguration.
“I want to make sure we take the time to
involve these groups and individuals in the Park opening,”
Birkenthal said. “We are not there yet as all efforts have gone
toward physical work on the park.”
You may have joined us for a walk through Anderson Cove in
August, where we got to explore the park before it was hydroseeded.
Looks like it will be a few more months before we’ll be able to go
I’m not really sure how someone who steals a child’s
bike can sleep at night. But that’s exactly what happened
to Alexandra Funari, a 10-year-old student at View Ridge
Elementary School. Last Thursday, her mother, Bonnie Flacco, came
home to find someone had ripped off Alexandra’s bicycle from right
beside their home off East 31st Street.
“It made me cry,” Alexandra said. “I really liked my bike.”
Flacco said that several kids’ bikes have gone missing in the
neighborhood recently, something she too finds unconscionable.
“It’s sad that someone would go around the neighborhood and
steal children’s toys,” she said.
Bike theft is all too common in Kitsap County and across the
country. In Bremerton alone, 69 bikes have been reported stolen
between Jan. 1, 2013 and today. Bremerton Police Chief Steve
Strachan said the best thing you can do, other than make sure the
bike is locked up, is get the serial number off of it for safe
keeping and take a picture. And, if it is stolen, be sure to report
it to police.
“We recover a bicycles fairly frequently,” Strachan
said. “We have a really hard time getting them back to people if
they don’t report it.”
Alexandra’s bike, unfortunately, remains missing. But
there is a silver lining.
Bremerton resident Joanne Jogerst saw a post from
Flacco on a Facebook page. She knew a man named Thom Kalmbach,
a Renton resident who grew up in Bremerton — and that he might have
a bike. Kalmbach contacted me and said his 13-year-old daughter had
indeed outgrown her bike and he was willing to part ways with it. I
arranged a meeting at Evergreen-Rotary Park this afternoon for the
parties to meet.
Alexandra had no idea.
“I hear someone borrowed your bike,” Kalmbach said as he
approached. “And they didn’t give it back.”
“Stole it,” Alexandra replied.
Then, Kalmbach wheeled over a white and purple bike with thick
mountain bike tires. Alexandra’s eyes lit up.
She quickly got on the saddle and began riding it around the
Evergreen-Rotary Park boat launch parking lot.
“I love it,” she said.
Flacco said they’ll make sure to get a lock to deter thieves in
On Monday, the Kitsap Sun got a rare
treat, going aboard the Seawolf for a tour right before the boat
headed for dry dock. So what makes the Seawolf so special? Here’s
nine things that differentiate her from the pack.
1. The Seawolf emerged at
the tail end of the Cold War
There are only three vessels in the
Seawolf class — The USS Jimmy Carter, USS Connecticut and the boat
itself — because, frankly, they were too expensive with the
collapse of the Soviet Union. During the final chapter of the Cold
War, the three vessels were designed to outpace the Soviets,
particularly in the “acoustics” realm, or how quiet they could
Along with the Soviet Union’s
collapse was the derailing of a U.S. plan to build 28 Seawolf-class
boats. Today, the three “most capable” submarines are based in
Puget Sound waters, with the Seawolf and Connecticut in Bremerton
and the Jimmy Carter at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.
2. The boat’s armed to the
Stocked with twice as many torpedo
tubes as the preceding Los Angeles-class submarines, the Seawolf
can carry around 50 torpedoes, fired from eight different
“It was built to hunt Russian
submarines, and destroy Russian submarines,” Seawolf Sonar
Technician Jacob Stilling told us.
3. The Seawolf is speedy — but
just how fast is classified
Officially, the leaders of the
Seawolf can say the boat can reach a speed greater than 20 knots.
How fast the vessel is actually capable of going remains
4. The Seawolf has a hardened
You might think that the submarine’s
sail — that protruding stack toward its bow — would only be used
for communications and reconnaissance. But the Seawolf, like some
other submarines, can use it for something else: penetrating the
ice in the coldest places on Earth.
During the most recent deployment,
the vessel sailed its way through the Bering Straight and
underneath the ice-covered environs at the top of the Earth. While
there, its sensors found a section of ice just five feet deep in a
land where its breadth can reach 100 feet.
The sail pierced through the ice and
most of the crew even got a chance to go “ashore,” taking photos
and filling condiment bottles with North Pole ice
“It wasn’t that cold,” said boat
commander Jeff Bierly. “It was like a cold day in
While the Seawolf isn’t the first to
do this — the Nautilus did it way back in 1958 — it’s still an
important skill set in an area of the world where the
powers-that-be are becoming increasingly territorial.
5. Her backup’s called
Plus, if the vessel’s nuclear
reactor ever goes out under that ice, the Seawolf must find a way
to surface so it can power on its backup diesel generator —
something that the Navy’s fleet of submarines still carry in case
of emergency. The one aboard the Seawolf is called
It can not only dive the deepest,
but it can last down there a long time
While not unique to the Seawolf, the
boat’s personnel take seriously its life system that keep it
inhabitable for its 154-compliment crew. The carbon dioxide we all
breath out is “scrubbed” and expelled from the boat. New oxygen is
made by taking water (H2O) and separating chemically its two hydrogen
molecules from the oxygen — and viola. The crew must also ensure
carbon monoxide (CO) does not build up on board, and does so by
chemically adding an additional oxygen molecule to it
(CO2) which turns
it into carbon dioxide. That carbon dioxide is then scrubbed off
the ship with the rest.
6. The vessel can last only as
long as its stock of food
The submarine’s most precious
commodity? Its nuclear reactor can run for eons and we’ve already
learned how they keep breathing down there. The thing that runs out
first is the boat’s supply of food.
At the start of deployment, areas of
the ship are stacked deep with canned goods, making it possible to
go up to 120 days.
When you consider that the crew —
most of which is aged between 18 and 25 — eats around 850 pounds of
food every day, that amount adds up fast on board a 350-foot-long
This past deployment’s favorite meal
was probably Asian food, namely sweet and sour chicken, according
to Kip Farrell, the boat’s leading culinary specialist. (Farrell, I
might note, is from Silverdale.)
7. All that equipment and food
makes for tight quarters
Submarines aren’t known for being
roomy to begin with, but that’s especially true for the Seawolf.
Crew members routinely “hot bunk” to save space, meaning one
submariner will take a bunk when he comes off shift for someone who
just finished sleeping in it. It works out to about three people
sleeping in a space of two bunks as shifts are
“Space is a high commodity onboard a
submarine,” said Chief of the Boat Nicholas Wallace. “It’s like a
giant Tetris puzzle in here.”
They make it work. At times,
submariners bunk with the torpedoes. The vessel’s wardroom, where
officers dine and meet, doubles as a medical facility when a
submariner needs treatment of some kind.
8. Yes, sometimes it
With all that equipment, food and
people, the Seawolf has never been able to install a sanitary pump
aboard like some other subs have. That means that even when
“blackwater” — the effluence on board — is expelled via pressure,
some lingering smell can waft through the
It’s really not that big of a deal,
the crew said.
“You just get used to it,” Bierly
9. Time for an
The Seawolf on Tuesday headed for
dry dock, the start of a two-year overhaul. New sonar and combat
control systems will be added, Bierly said, making the vessel all
the more advanced when she goes back to sea in 2018.
“We’re gonna get the latest and
greatest,” Bierly said. “And we’re pretty excited about
UPDATE, Dec. 11: City
officials announced Friday that Washington Avenue will reopen to
traffic on mid-day, Monday, Dec. 14. Some work continues that could
result in intermittent closures but the roadway, including the
intersections at Fifth and Sixth streets will finally be
At long last, paving’s been completed on
Washington Avenue and drivers will see some relief on their
afternoon commutes home.
The city has chosen to keep the southbound lane of
Washington closed until mid-December, in order to get a few more
tasks completed and so it does not further confuse drivers,
according to Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin.
“Since folks are used to the one-lane northbound
configuration and the intersection closure, we think it is best
overall to get the work done right with fewer disruptions,” Martin
“Since we only have one lane to work with each way
now, it really makes it much more difficult to get the big trucks
in, and have the room they need to work safely,” Martin said.
The $3.5 million project has narrowed the roadway from four
lanes to two, which made room for wider sidewalks and bike lanes.
The project is also completing a new sewer line that will allow the
city to abandon an environmentally sensitive sewer line on the
Once most of the road work’s done, the crews will be
able to finish off the work at Evergreen-Rotary Park. Now that the
aforementioned sewer beach line will be defunct, there’s no need
for a pump station, roadway and power lines through the middle of
the park. Crews will take those things out and fully connect the
original park with the new 9/11 Memorial via grass and
Here’s the city’s timeline — not quite the October
completion they’d expected.
Paving complete – Thursday, October 15th
Street lights installed and operational – October
Landscaping on Washington – October 30th
Park construction – October 30th to December
Underground (electrical) conversion complete and
street fully reopened – December 18th
But wait, there’s more. Even after nearly 200
apartment units open in downtown Bremerton in the next year, there
are more projects planned around the corner.
The next one is located on the corner of Warren Avenue and
Burwell Street. Remember that fire in late September (see photo)
that damaged the boarded-up town homes there? It may not be long
before bulldozers take them all out entirely and replace them with
a 25-apartment complex.
The 1010 apartments, planned by the same developers as the ones
wrapping up 71-unit 606 project down the street, have recently won
approval from the city’s design review board. PJ Santos with Lorax
Partners said there’s no timetable yet for construction.
The project spans four parcels between 1002 and 1018 Burwell
Street, each currently owned by Diamond Parking. Lorax plans to buy
the properties when construction looms.
The Monterey: The 48-unit project by
longtime Kitsap County resident and developer Dale Sperling (who
hasn’t disclosed the price tag)
at the former Nite Shift Tavern and Evergreen Upholstery is
making its way through the design review board; Sperling expects
construction in early spring.
Two other developments are still clouded in
“The year of torn up street corners.” That’s
how Bremerton’s public works department summed up 2016 in Bremerton
at a recent city meeting. And no place will have more torn up
street corners than Warren Avenue.
The reason is that the state is gearing up in 2017 to pave
Warren Avenue, Wheaton Way, and all of the Highway 303 corridor out
to Fairground Road. By doing so, many of the street corners along
the way will need to reconstructed to meet current standards for
accessibility. That means new curbs, concrete, countdown clocks for
pedestrians and other traffic improvements will be installed in
2016. The state will pickup the tab for 34 of 55 curb ramps; the
city will pay half of the cost of the rest, which will be about
But city officials, including Mayor Patty Lent, have talked
expanding the narrow pedestrian access on the Warren Avenue
Bridge. The state, in a $1.2 million project a few years ago,
had improved safety crossing the bridge on foot (and on wheels) by
making the railings higher. But if you’ve walked it lately, you
know it’s a tight fit whenever you encounter anyone on the
crossing. Lent and other think it should be fixed, and what better
time to do it then while much other construction work is ongoing,
Chal Martin, Bremerton’s public works director, unveiled an
artist’s rendering (see above) and a plan for remaking the bridge,
at last Tuesday’s city public works meeting. It calls for narrowing
the driving lanes (no, no lanes won’t be taken out,
unlike the project on Washington Avenue) to make more room for
pedestrians. The route is part of the city’s
bridge to bridge urban trail, and the city expects it to grow
in popularity. But because some of the supporting structure of the
bridge has to be reinforced, it comes at quite a cost: about $5
Meanwhile, Mayor Lent, who last week attended the annual meeting
of the American Public
Transportation Association in San Francisco, is developing
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) up the Warren Avenue Cooridor, and
wants ensure any longterm planning has BRT incorporated on the
Warren Avenue Bridge. That usually means dedicated lanes on the
road for buses, to go with fast and frequent service.
But a bridge that was built almost exclusively for cars may not
have much room for much other stuff. I’ve heard from residents
concerned about the idea that ‘skinnying’ up the road could lead to
more accidents; I’ve also heard from others that say making the
lanes smaller will actually slow or “calm” traffic on a roadway
that motorists drive like a freeway and one that has too many
What will the bridge, and the roadways beyond it, look like in a
few years? The future holds many variables. What would you like it
to look like?
STORY WALK: Back Stage Pass at
What: Join Reporter Josh Farley Friday, Oct.
9 at 6:30 p.m. for interviews with Music Director Alan Futterman
and the musicians who keep this proud tradition going, and then
hear the symphony on the eve of the first show of the season.
Where: Bremerton Performing Arts Center, 1500
13th Street, Bremerton. Parking is available at 13th and Lincoln
Street, enter the lot from Lincoln. Cost: Free for the whole family.
After a flood had damaged Mary-Cathern
Edwards’ Manchester home, an insurance agent came out and … checked
out her cello.
The agent happened to be president of the Bremerton Symphony board, and
they needed a cellist. Edwards accepted the challenge.
That was 42 years ago.
“I’ve been there close to the longest,” Edwards said.
“There’s a great camaraderie, a great community musical effort.
It’s such a cool thing to be able to share.”
Some 60 musicians will be doing their seventh and
final rehearsal of “Dvořák the Romantic,” at the Bremerton
Performing Arts Center.
“We’re from all walks of life,” said William Ferman,
a Bremerton physician who plays clarinet in the symphony. “It’s a
real cross section of the community.” ‘
We’ll hear Friday from
Conductor Alan Futterman and several musicians before they
begin the rehearsal. I’m especially curious about what it takes,
mechanically, to bring all the moving parts of a symphony
The result is beautiful music — and you’ll be able to
watch the entire performance. I think this is a real treat, and I
hope you’ll join us.
“To be able to join together and as a unit perform
these great works — you can’t describe the joy it brings,” added