Harborside Steps Now Open to Public

By Rachel Pritchett
Construction is done, and the newly christened Harborside Steps that wind down to the Bremerton waterfront have opened to the public.
The steps, which start where Washington Avenue meets Burwell Street, offer visitors a new place to walk, relax, or eat their lunch while enjoying a 180-degree view of Sinclair Inlet.
They also offer a new way for pedestrians get around the redeveloped waterfront that today has condominiums, a hotel, the convention center, the boardwalk and the marina.
“I think it (is) comparable to any walkway in Western Washington,” said Gary Sexton, the economic-development chief for the city of Bremerton who was asked by the Port of Bremerton commission to serve as project manager for the Harborside Steps.
The steps are on property purchased this year by the port and were built with a $392,000 federal grant.
Punctuating the 12-foot-wide steps and meandering walkway below are three landings with tables and chairs, and 400 tons of turquoise-tinged granite boulders, carved and polished by Will Robinson of Elandan Gardens of Gorst.
In between are a host of exotic, mature trees brought in from private homes and nurseries from near and far.
“I spent a lot of time driving to nurseries throughout the Northwest,” Sexton said.
The smell of fresh mulch rises from around Japanese maples, shishi gashira, pseudocamellia and four rare evergreens that are tall and unusually slender.
Plantings also include rhododendrons, a gnarled pine that creeps toward the water, and 80 hydrangeas in five varieties.
“This will just explode this spring,” Sexton said during a recent walk on the steps as an occasional the steps as an occasional walker and jogger passed by. “It’s intended to have a lot of color in it.”
Furniture and light posts are similar in style to those used at the nearby Harborside Fountain Park and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Memorial Plaza.
The rest of the 2-acre
site purchased by the port is a parking lot. The port, for its part, has spiffed up areas surrounding the
116 spaces, and added a retaining wall and fence.
The port purchased the property from the troubled Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority for $3.5 million.
The port’s Bremerton Marina lacked parking for its users, and the purchase allowed the port to offer some.
Port commissioners also believed that the land could be more intensely developed in the future.
To allow for that, a long sewer pipe had to be dug up and relocated under the Harborside Steps.
That and installing the steps took about three months.
“It’s a very cool deal,” Sexton said.
A dedication ceremony will take place in January on a day U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, who helped secure the grant, is available.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

(Not a trick question) What color is the pink house?