Shipyard moving ahead with down security buffer plan

Sept. 11, 2001 changed everything — apparently even the entire eastern border of PSNS.

Steve Anderson, PSNS’ executive director, confirmed Tuesday the Navy is moving ahead with plans to buy all private property bordering on PSNS’ eastern side to increase security buffers.

At an event Tuesday at the Admiral Theatre, the Navy presented a graphic presentation of the proposed east end of PSNS depicting a promenade of trees, sidewalks, and a flag pavilion on the block bounded by Burwell Street, Pacific Avenue and First Avenue.

“There is not an official project until it gets into the President’s budget,” Anderson said, probably after the first of the year. “At this point it is only a proposal.”

Anderson said the idea is to make the east end of PSNS “vehicle-exclusive” and yet, pedestrian friendly.

When approved by Congress, the plan would be to make the east end of PSNS mimic the west end of Naval Station Bremerton with red brick facades and posts interspersed with ornamental iron fences.

Bob Uhrich, director of land management at Naval Engineering Field Activity Northwest in Poulsbo, said a rough timeline for the project shows the Navy beginning land purchase in early 2003. Razing buildings, constructing fences and building the pedestrian area would occur in 2004.

Uhrich said landowners will be offered “fair market value” for their properties. “We will not coerce any landowners,” he said.

Of the nine properties listed in the proposed buffer area, the 101 Pacific Avenue location (the old McDonald’s) was assessed most valuable at $184,000. The least valuable are two Diamond Parking lots at $33,000 each. Old Wooly’s, Castle Comics, Smiley’s Subs, Nik Nak Paddy Wack, Broad Sword Video Productions, McCall’s Music and the Empire Night Club would be displaced.

Bremerton artist Stuart Dempster said he was “not convinced” the Navy needed the property for security buffers.

“I am concerned about my friends and colleagues who are going to be sized out,” he said. “They are people who stuck it out in Bremerton and through a recession in a tough neighborhood.

“It won’t hurt the landowners any,” Dempster said. (But) A park doesn’t generate income for the city.”

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