We shouldn’t write off our urban waterfronts

I guess I never gave much thought to urban waterfronts. I figured they were paved-over areas mostly spoiled decades ago, and there isn’t much anybody can do about it.

But my viewpoint changed when I attended a pre-conference workshop at the Urban Waterfront Revitalization summit in Bremerton on Wednesday. I came away with insights about what is possible in downtown areas from some of the leading experts in the field of urban ecosystem restoration. Check out my story in today’s Kitsap Sun, where I describe recent restoration efforts in some of the Northwest’s oldest cities — perhaps the least-likely places for nature to survive.

Artist’s concept for Bremerton Boardwalk

More information was presented than I could fit into my story, but we were told that the PowerPoint presentations will be posted on the conference Web site following the three-day event.

During a question-and-answer period, I raised a question about Bremerton’s proposed boardwalk. I asked if the project could be made environmentally acceptable or if the city should just forget about it.

Jim Brennan of J.A. Brennan Associates said the key would be working with local tribes regarding fishing rights, something Bremerton officials have done. So far, the Suquamish Tribe remains opposed to the boardwalk, but I understand that discussions are not over.

Shannon Kinsella and moderator Nicole Faghin of the design firm Reid Middleton talked about locating the boardwalk an appropriate distance from shore to avoid shading plants that grow in shallow water. They said elevating the walkway to allow more sunlight to reach the water would be an important consideration. Bremerton officials have already adjusted their design to accommodate both ideas.

In a related discussion, Faghin talked about “balancing” the interests of humans in an urban setting with the requirements of functioning ecosystems.

None of the experts said Bremerton should forget about the boardwalk project — but I guess that would go against their nature as consultants.

4 thoughts on “We shouldn’t write off our urban waterfronts

  1. I read somewhere that a open grate type walking surface would work best environmentally and a limited walkway width of six or ten foot.
    Seems to me restructuring would eliminate the tribe objections and produce a beneficial walking bridge from Bremerton to Evergreen Park.
    Schools need to start prioritizing their funding to meet the needs of the students not the teachers, unions, and all of the suggested flavors of the month.
    Sharon O’Hara

  2. “…Schools need to start prioritizing their funding to meet the needs of the students not the teachers, unions, and all of the suggested flavors of the month….”

    isn’t something I wrote or agree with and shouldn’t be in the above comment. Please excuse…

  3. Sharon, your comment is spot on! This boardwalk is so big and wide that it is no wonder permitting has become a problem. Bremerton wants to be able to drive trucks on this “Boardwalk”. A 28 foot wide concrete structure is not going to be permitted with or without Tribal objections. However is the size was scaled down as you suggest and the deck was constructed of a grate type surface, even I could support that.

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