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Showcase project focuses on water quality and stormwater management

The Kitsap Home Builders Foundation held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, for a low impact development showcase project. The project started in its showcase role from the start, with elected officials from neighboring areas joining in. Participating in the ceremony are Port of Bremerton Commissioner Mary Ann Huntington, Poulsbo City Council member James Henry III, Port of Bremerton Commissioner Bill Mahan, Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman and Jeff Coombe, president of the Kitsap Home Builders Association. - Photo by James Mange
The Kitsap Home Builders Foundation held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, for a low impact development showcase project. The project started in its showcase role from the start, with elected officials from neighboring areas joining in. Participating in the ceremony are Port of Bremerton Commissioner Mary Ann Huntington, Poulsbo City Council member James Henry III, Port of Bremerton Commissioner Bill Mahan, Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman and Jeff Coombe, president of the Kitsap Home Builders Association.
— image credit: Photo by James Mange

The environmental impact of a showcase project at the Kitsap Home Builders Association could be the tip of the iceberg. The extreme makeover of the associations’ grounds will demonstrate low impact development techniques that provide new methods of managing stormwater, and lead to better water quality.

The Kitsap Home Builders Foundation, the charitable and educational arm of the Home Builders Association of Kitsap County is conducting the project with a $40,000 Public Involvement and Education grant from the Puget Sound Action Team, and 125,000 in donated materials and labor. Everything outside of the building on the Auto Center Way property will be removed and replaced with earth-friendly materials that will absorb the water instead of causing runoff.

The new parking areas will be made of six different types of pervious and porous paving materials. Additionally, the project will include a bioretention cell, also known as a rain garden, a storage shed with a vegetated roof, and a replanting of the site with native, drought resistant plants and trees.

“One of the things we found in talking to engineers and developers is that they haven’t had a chance to touch, taste and feel,” said Executive Director Art Castle. “Sometimes you can read all the articles you want on new materials or techniques, but until you can actually see it and stand on it, it may not make an impact. Once you touch it, then you say, ‘Now I get it.’”

The demonstration value of the project began right with the groundbreaking, with elected officials gathering to show their interest.

“This is an important project,” said Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman. “It’s little projects like this that could lead us into making a lower impact on our environment.”

Bremerton is joining in the venture, by installing pervious concrete sidewalks around the site, as part of the widening of Auto Center Way.

“(These methods) may be more expensive,” Bozeman added, “but it’s worth it. The only way we’re going to change things is by having people say, ‘We’re not going to do it the old way anymore. I applaud the Homebuilders Association for deciding they were going to do something about it.”

“We want to do things right the first time with new development,” said Poulsbo City Councilmember James Henry III. “We’ll be watching you.”

People could be watching as early as next week, as excavation is expected to start. Castle will be keeping builders, developers and municipalities informed of the projects’ progress, so interested parties can observe the work being done.

“Art really should get the credit for this,” said Jeff Coombe, president of the Homebuilder Association. “He’s done all the work on this. He got the grant and did all the cheerleading getting people on board.”

Fred Hill Materials is providing the pervious concrete, Ace Paving is delivering the pervious asphalt, and four types of porous pavers are coming from Mutual Materials.

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