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Stepping up to help spruce up Bremerton
Rotarians help city cope with budget cuts by planting flowers at Harborside.
With the city strapped for cash, local organizations are stepping up to do what they can for the parks.
Following a Rotary conference Saturday, April 25, several Rotarians from throughout the West Sound region planted flowers in the Harborside area in downtown Bremerton, adding a little splash of color to the landscape.
“It went well,” Bremerton Rotarian Walt Draper said. “We planted wave petunias and we planted them in all the planters around the hotel and the conference center and the boardwalk.”
Bremerton Parks and Recreation Director Wyn Birkenthal said the volunteer efforts of groups such as Rotary, Kiwanis and the Lions Club are much appreciated, especially during tough economic times.
“The groups can play a positive role in the way the parks look and run,” Birkenthal said.
Due to budget constraints, the parks department’s flower program was cut in half this year. The program typically has 200 hanging baskets and 30 planting beds throughout Bremerton, but that is no longer the case. Birkenthal said the city also is operating only one of the parks department’s two greenhouses, saving $24,000.
Birkenthal said his parks staff is a little smaller too.
“With the city’s budget being what it is, we have a few less people in the field than last year,” he said.
Birkenthal said local service organizations seem to always step up and help the parks department, but volunteers are needed “now more than ever” to spruce up and help maintain city parks.
Draper said Rotarians enjoyed planting the petunias Saturday and the organization would possibly plant flowers for the city again in the future.
“It was a good project. The city provided the flowers and the tools and we provided the strong backs,” Draper said. “It worked out quite well and the parks folks were happy.”
Birkenthal said when the parks department had a larger staff, the department would occasionally have to create projects especially for volunteers.
“Now that’s not the case,” he said. “There’s actually lots of work to be done.”
Birkenthal said help from volunteers stretches the department’s resources and allows them to accomplish projects that would otherwise go unfinished.
Birkenthal said the Rotary Club of Bremerton also is looking to fix up Bachmann Park in Manette later this year.
But Rotary isn’t the only organization giving its time and money to the parks department.
Birkenthal said the Bremerton Central Lions Club is heavily involved in the renovation of Lions Park and are raising money for a new play area and picnic shelter.
“They’ve pledged $50,000 to the park,” Birkenthal said. “They’re going to play a large role in that renovation.”