Westpark Being Recycled


Homes in the neighborhood are being demolished, but 93 percent of that material will be recycled.

By Rachel Pritchett  |  rpritchett@kitsapsun.com



nybody who has been to Westpark recently has noticed big machinery knocking down some of the old, worn housing at Oyster Bay Avenue and Arsenal Way to make way for new development.

What they might not know is that 93 percent of all the materials coming down being recycled, not sent to a landfill.

A whopping 35,451 tons of material will be recycled and only 2,459 tons will go into a landfill, according to Nancy Austin, a 

development manager for Bremerton Housing Authority, which owns Westpark. 

Old walls, floors and framing from the 43 buildings now being “deconstructed” will be converted into steam energy.

Window glass will be transformed into new windows. Metals go to a scrap yard. 

Even asphalt used to patch the roads will be broken down and used again.

Big trees that will have to be cut down will be sent to the lumber mill. And soil that’s removed will be sifted and replaced.

Most astounding is the concrete used for foundations, porches and walkways. It will be grounded up on-site and used to build roads that will serve the new Bay Vista neighborhood that is to replace Westpark.

“We have an opportunity to do something that’s environmentally responsible,” said Kurt Wiest, BHA executive director.

How times and attitudes have changed.

BHA and its contractor, Hos Brothers Construction of Woodinville, have come across an old, 1930s-era dump off Oyster Bay Avenue in Westpark. People in the ’30s, of course, didn’t recycle. 

The land today cannot support buildings, because they would settle atop the old dump. That forced Bay Vista designers to alter their plans. A ball field now will top the old dump.

“Here we are jumping forward 80 years; we don’t want to make the same mistakes,” Wiest said.

The recycling doesn’t cost much more money. Austin estimated it cost BHA $190 a ton to deconstruct and recycle the homes. But BHA is expecting to receive $128 a ton from materials it sells to recyclers. That’s a net cost of $62 a ton. With fewer landfill fees to pay, the deal is close to a wash.

“What we’re trying to do is reduce the amount that we have to pay to deconstruct these buildings,” Wiest said.

BHA’s massive recycling of Westpark has won the admiration of folks like Art Castle, executive vice president of the Homebuilders Association of Kitsap County.

“I think it’s real smart,” he said, who added that about a quarter of his association’s builders are enrolled in its Built Green program, which encourages recycling.

Despite the recession, the Westpark conversion remains a going concern.

About 75 percent of the residents of the 571 Westpark housing units have been relocated to other low-income housing. The rest will be gone by the end of the year, Wiest said.

The $300 million Bay Vista is to include a retail and office village at the corner of Kitsap Way at Highway 3. A few developers have expressed interest, but it’s difficult for them to get credit and no deals to develop the commercial village have been reached, Wiest said. 

Already built is the Bay Vista Commons, an assisted-living facility.

Coming in the next year or two will be 75 units of affordable duplexes, triplexes and townhomes where the deconstruction and recycling work is taking place now, as well as The Summit, an 83-unit apartment building with affordable units off Arsenal Way.

Bay Vista, scheduled for completion in 2012 or 2013, could have as many as 850 homes, a quarter of them affordable and the rest of them market-rate.


Plants Recycled, Too

The public can pick up free plants that have been removed from Westpark beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday near Bremerton Fire Station No. 2 off Kitsap and Arsenal ways. Plants include rhododendron, lilac and rose bushes.

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