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Don't raze the 'Golden'

There’s at least one building on the eventually-to-be-demolished west side of Pacific Avenue between Burwell and First streets that may be worth saving.

Meetings between interested Bremertonians and the Navy are taking place to find a way to save it — or at least part of it.

The “Golden Building,” 115-119 Pacific Ave., was built in 1912 and renovated in classic art deco style not long after. One idea is to renovate and save the classic facade to create an entry to a planned strip park at the site.

The Navy wants to raze that side of the street to create a clear “safety zone” for the east corner of PSNS, in the wake of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Golden Building is on the state’s Historic Property Inventory — not because of its connection to Bremerton history or historic persons, but for the importance and beauty of its art deco tile exterior.

Pam Buckingham, director of the Kitsap County Historical Society Museum; Carolyn McClurkan, society president; Vickie Whitt, specialist in historic preservation at PSNS; Terry Fessner, full-time businessman and part-time preservationist of vintage Bremerton properties; and Carrie Mandak, local restauranteur and historical activist, were among others scheduled to meet Thursday after the Bremerton Patriot’s deadline.

Many parties going into the meeting were enthusiastic about saving the site.

“I don’t think we’re talking about saving the building,” said Mary Ann Mascianica, PSNS public affairs officer. But “the tiled (exterior) is of historic significance.”

She and other representatives of the Navy have stressed they have no intention of simply razing buildings and erecting an ugly fence, such as the one that borders the north side of the yard along much of Burwell Street. The Navy wants a park-like makeover with places for people to walk, sit and relax.

“We’re eager to partner with the museum,” added Mascianica. “It’s an exciting venture.”

Although there are some art deco details inside the one-story, 30-foot wide building, most agree the facade is the item to save.

Fessner got involved after talking to Buckingham.

“The front of the building is the historical part,” he said, adding it would make a great “entrance to the park.” Fessner recently renovated the old Schutt Medical Building on Fifth Street.

Buckingham said being on the state’s Inventory meant the building is being considered for national historical status. Just being on the Inventory obliges the Navy to find some way to save it, save a portion of it, or at least honor it in some way.

Honoring the building could range from saving the facade as an entrance to the park, to saving just part of the tile work and using that as decorative elements in or around the park, she said.

“We have no idea of the cost for this,” Buckingham said, explaining that they’re just beginning to examine the idea.

The notion of saving part of Golden came out of a conversation Buckingham and Fessner had back in January, she said,

“It’s a grass roots effort,” she added.

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