Full speed ahead for Eastpark, police station

If you need a building that is as safe and sturdy as a castle, but is also very accessible and makes you feel at home, then Bruce Ellison is the man to design it.

He is the principal architect at Arai and Jackson Architects, the company recently chosen by the Bremerton City Council to design the new police and municipal court building at the corner of Pacific Avenue and Sixth Street.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the Council approved a design development agreement with the Chaffey Homes Corporation for the Eastpark area.

Both Bremerton’s Economic Development Director Gary Sexton, Mayor Cary Bozeman and Council members raved about founder Herb Chaffey’s long history of quality home building in the Puget Sound area.

Council member Daren Nygren, whose District 3 covers the Eastpark area, has participated on a committee with Bozeman, Sexton and Chris Hugo, director of community development to choose the designer of the planned housing area above the Kitsap YMCA and the new Bremerton Ice Arena.

“We made it clear, almost to the point of being obnoxious, that citizen input is first and foremost on the project,” Nygren said.

Nygren has already held formal meetings so residents in his district can sound-off on what kind of housing development they want in that area.

The 48-acre Eastpark area was a $7 million gift from the Navy to the city of Bremerton in December.

In its heydey, the area held 165 buildings, containing about 350 units where mostly Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Navy Yard workers lived.

The complexes were viewed as an eyesore and eventually torn down. As it stands now, the area is a patch of grass and tall weeds bordered by canyons and with pristine views of the mountains and Puget Sound.

As part of the interview process, the Eastpark selection group toured a series of Chaffey’s homes in the area.

“I was very impressed with the quality,” Nygren said. He said he was impressed with Chaffey’s enthusiasm for the project too.

“Bremerton is in an exciting period and I think we can help,” said Chaffey after the meeting.

All construction should be completed by December 2004.

The plan is take the 20,525-square-foot building that is currently occupied by US Bank, and make the necessary renovations to the interior and exterior to house police officers and a court.

US Bank has made plans to move elsewhere in the city of Bremerton by March of 2004.

At last Wednesday’s meeting, the City Council also unanimously approved the purchase and sale agreement for the bank building at a cost of $1 million.

“It’s something that I frankly thought I’d never see in my career,” said a smiling Police Chief Rob Forbes about the prospect of moving into a new public safety building.

After the Council meeting, Forbes chatted about how it will be a challenge to create something that has a protective, yet accessible.

“The community is paying for this,” he said.

The money to purchase and renovate the building is culled from the public safety bonds fund, which is paid for through a voter-approved property tax increase.

It includes $4.8 million for the remodel of the US Bank building, as well as $3.8 million to create a new fire station from the ground up. There is also about $829,000 thousand for fire equipment upgrades and $250,000 for new patrol cars.

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