Bremerton Marina makes a splash with grand opening

The newly expanded Bremerton marina features 229 permanent moorage slips and 100 guest moorages.  - Charles Melton/staff photo
The newly expanded Bremerton marina features 229 permanent moorage slips and 100 guest moorages.
— image credit: Charles Melton/staff photo

Crowds gather for grand opening bash.

As revelers gathered May 31 for the newly expanded Bremerton Marina’s grand opening, the engineering feat displayed by the project could have easily gone unnoticed.

However, for those who worked on the project like professional engineer Willy Ahn, the festivities were a pleasant “thank you” for a job well done.

Ahn, who worked for Bremerton’s Art Anderson and Associates on the project, pointed out some of the unique qualities of the new breakwater, especially in the Northwest.

“This is a 100 percent custom casting,” Ahn said, adding that most marinas are assembled and designed using precast pieces.

Another notable aspect of the marina and the breakwater in particular is the protection it offers boats within the marina’s interior from wakes created by the nearby Washington State Ferries vessels, he said.

“In tests at Oregon State, our prototype showed that it would displace 40 percent, but in reality it’s more than that,” Ahn said.

While Ahn focused on the technical aspects, Port of Bremerton Chief Executive Officer Ken Atteberry borrowed a phrase from the marina’s chief architect Scott McGregor to describe the atmosphere at the event.

“As Scott would say, ‘This is pretty terrific stuff,’” Atteberry told the packed marina as it officially opened to the public.

McGregor, who worked for Art Anderson and Associates, died unexpectedly May 7, but he lived long enough to see the first boats sail into the marina, which represents countless hours and years of planning and teamwork to at long last become a reality, Atteberry said.

During the prayer for the grand opening, Bishop Lawrence Robertson from Bremerton’s Emmanuel Apostolic Church spoke about the vision necessary to see a project like the marina through to completion and set the tone for the following remarks by the key leaders involved in the project.

“Like the minister said, it took vision to make this happen,” Congressman Norm Dicks (D-Belfair) said as he took the podium to address the throngs of boaters and spectators enjoying the celebration. “It’s a great day in Bremerton, my hometown.”

When the project first began less than a year ago, there were plenty of naysayers who didn’t believe in the vision many had for a revitalized Bremerton and who said the marina would never be filled with boats, Dicks said.

“It’s full now,” Dicks added. “This is a project that is going to add to the revitalization of Bremerton.”

Although the port’s February 2007 property tax levy increase was unpopular, it was the right thing to do, and Dicks thanked the three commissioners, Bill Mahan, Cheryl Kincer and Mary Ann Huntington, who approved the increase, for their willingness to go against popular opinion.

“You get a chapter in ‘Profiles in Courage’ for what you did and what the commissioners did,” Dicks told Huntington.

Huntington lost her reelection bid to Larry Stokes after the commission approved an Industrial Development District tax. The property tax has Port of Bremerton residents paying for most of the marina construction over six years with an additional 45 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value.

Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman echoed Dicks’ praise of the commissioners’ courage, because the economic benefit resulting from the new marina will be shared by every taxpayer in the county.

“This is a legacy that we are leaving people for the next 200 to 300 years,” Bozeman said.

Not only will boaters enjoy a first-class facility, but residents and visitors will be able to walk out to the breakwater and go fishing and have family picnics, he said.

“It’s only right that the city of Bremerton should enjoy it,” Bozeman said.

Port Commissioner Kincer, who represents the Bremerton area, said she remembers what Bremerton’s waterfront was more than a decade ago when the port built the first part of city’s boardwalk on which the crowds were gathered.

“This is a continuation of what we began in 1992,” she said, as she described a recent phone call she received from a longtime friend expressing their excitement about having such a great public place to view the water.

“That’s why I’m so excited to see this happen,” she said.

With the traffic maze created by the ongoing Bremerton tunnel project, Bremerton Mainstream Association Executive Director Carol Atkinson was all smiles as she surveyed the full marina, which has 229 permanent moorage slips and 100 guest moorages.

“The port did a first-class job on this facility and I’m happy to be part of the project,” Atkinson said. “It’ll be worth it when it’s full.”

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