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Gateway to the community
Take one glorious Saturday in October, add 100 committed community and city worker volunteers combined, then mix well with one of the most visible and neglected areas of the city and the end result becomes one of the biggest improvement success stories of the year.
I was so incredibly proud to be a part of those efforts this past weekend. What a diverse and eclectic group of people who came together for a common purpose.
The saying that many hands make light works has still proven to be very true. That said, it was still tough, sweaty work in some of those areas of the median.
The weeds and dead shrubs that had been clinging to their patches of dirt for several years without disruption put up quite the fight during their removal and I have the scratches to prove it.
Thanks to the efforts of the Bremerton public works department, signage alerting drivers to the work ahead and the lane closure was already in place when I arrived at 8 a.m.
Workers started heading out between 8:30 and 9 a.m. There was a brief pizza break around noon, with nearly everyone back out working until 2 p.m.
Most drivers passing by were kind and polite. Comments yelled out the windows of vehicles did span the full spectrum from glowing appreciation at one end to chain gang references at the other.
The gateway area has been a maintenance issue for many years. It was poorly designed and planted. Mistakes were made in both planning and execution that should never happen again.
However, looking back at those mistakes does nothing to solve the problem at hand which had developed into an overgrown, sloppy, messy entrance to our city that is supposed be serving as a welcome mat for residents and visitors alike.
A permanent low maintenance solution is desperately needed. The ability to pay for that solution is what keeps it from being implemented.
The joint efforts of all the volunteers and city staff from this past weekend were simply a temporary bridge between letting the problem continue to grow (pun intended) out of hand even farther and a fully funded permanent solution to the problem.
I hope as a citizen and a parks commissioner that discussions on a solution will happen. It is my hope that some sort of compromise on funding can be reached in the next year or two at the very most.
If you know of someone who helped with this project, please take the time to thank them for their efforts.
A big thank you to the city staff that supported and assisted with this citizen organized and labor fueled project is also deserved and appreciated.
Keep volunteering in Bremerton.
Be sure to check out the photos and comments from many of the participants of the Gateway project located at www.facebook.com/volunteerinbremerton.