Mailbag: Free swims at the Y and manhole covers


Here’s a question I’ve been hearing a lot lately. “I am not a member of the Bremerton YMCA, but I’ve heard you can still swim there for free periodically.”

There have been doubts cast about whether this is true, so I went to the source: Bremerton Parks Director Jeff Elevado and YMCA Director Jane Erlandsen. Both confirmed that once every quarter, local residents can use the pool for free, as part of their operating agreement (the YMCA runs the pool but the city owns it).

In fact, it’s not just the pool. Elevado told me.

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“The Bremerton YMCA provides voucher for one visit per quarter,” he said. “The visit provides full access to the Y, including the pool.”

To print out the voucher, click here.


Felicienne Griffin-Matheson asked me recently on Facebook why there are so many manhole covers on Trenton Avenue. “If anyone has driven Trenton they know what the difference between a drunk driver and a man hole avoider is. Why is there 50+ man hole covers between 11th and Stone on Trenton? I have been wondering why for so many years!”

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Others commented that Lower Wheaton Way has a whole bunch of them too.

For the answer, I consulted Wayne Hamilton, the city’s utility operations manager. He printed maps showing the city’s network of water, sewer and stormwater pipes that snake under the road.

The short answer, Felicienne, is that the street is old and has seen a lot in its lifetime. The more elaborate answer is that, as time and development of the street has gone on, more underground utilities have been needed, and added.

Anytime one of the pipes under Trenton has needed a new branch, a manhole cover has to be added, Hamilton said. Also, anytime a pipe turns at a 45 degree angle or higher, a manhole cover must be added. The reason is that clogs in those pipes are most likely to be found at the corners, so they have to be easily accessed by crews to get them unclogged.

“If things get plugged, you want to have access to it,” he told me.

Also, the city embarked on a utility project there about 25 years ago that separated sewer flows from runoff — or stormwater — ones. The reason: each time we have a big storm and lots of rain, it overflows the city’s sewer treatment plant, causing sewage to be spilled into Puget Sound. By creating a new system for the runoff, you keep it from going to the sewer system, but you also get more utility covers on the street above.

“That all adds up to a lot of man holes,” he said.


Several people have asked about the foundation on a plateau off Kitsap Way near Westbay Auto Parts (see picture). 


For the answer, I asked the city’s community development department. The foundation is actually a part of the construction of a private home with a large garage. Larry Taylor, a local resident who fixes bikes as a hobby, is the applicant.

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