Bremerton set to approve 9/11 memorial

If the pending snowstorm doesn't interfere with plans, the Bremerton City Council Wednesday will likely approve Kitsap 9/11 Memorial plans during their regular meeting.

Following a city-mandated redesign, a scale down of the original plans by 75 percent from a multiple-acre $2 million memorial to the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks in to a $260,000 version, Bremerton Parks and Recreation Director Wyn Birkenthal recommended the city approve the new version.

Local architect, Central Kitsap Fire Commissioner, and member of the 9/11 Memorial Planning Committee Dave Fergus said the design forwarded to council would likely cost $360,000 to build.

Plans do not yet include the funding for the memorial's upkeep and maintenance, which the city asked for.

The memorial's bank account now holds about $80,000 and fundraising events are planned through the spring. Fergus said the committee retains hope to have the memorial built by the 11th anniversary.

Rushed plans to complete the memorial for the 10th anniversary of the attacks fell short after last spring's required redesign. The committee instead held a ceremonial groundbreaking that turned into a patriotic fundraiser.

Shortly before the 10th anniversary, the committees treasurer quit citing problems with the handling of money.

Birkenthal said the new redesign was "well received" by the community in a final public comment period that ended today. Many said it would be a good addition to Evergreen Rotary Park.

Another snag remains for the committee to hurdle before seeing its goal achieved at all, let alone by next September. According to Birkenthal, the chosen location for the memorial requires about $300,000 work of site preparation and the city is responsible to pay for it.

Though both the city and the memorial committee sold the plan to tax payers saying that no city money would be spent to erect whatever passes final approval, Birkenthal said the city has always know that the so-called Chevron site needed the work. We've known since 2005, he said.

Recently passed, the city's cash-strapped 2012 budget will likely face downward revisions and does not include the money for the park improvements.

Birkenthal said the lack of funding was not necessarily a deal killer and that it was "not impossible" for the committee to build their memorial before site prep work is started. Though, it would likely be surrounded by dust in the summer and mud in the winter, he said.

Fergus said that if the city is unable to prepare the site, the committee would likely have no other choice but to wait.

"It's not our intent to build the memorial and surround [it] with dirt."



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