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Access, environment top boardwalk concerns

Residents weighed in on the proposed boardwalk and sewer access projects that would connect Evergreen Park to Bremerton Harborside, but most of their questions were left unanswered.

This was the first of what public works officials say will be many public meetings about the 3,000 foot-long, waterfront boardwalk that would also provide access to and replace an ailing sewage pipe along the Washington Narrows beach.

The city is pursuing grants to fund the project, which is expected to cost about $13 million and take about three years to complete.

The first round of grants could yield a possible $1 million. A decision could come as soon as next week officials said.

“If we get that money we can really get started on this project in earnest,” said Public Works Director Phil Williams told the 50 or so people who attended the community meeting at the Public Works building on Oyster Bay Road.

“The more popular and the more support this project is, the more likely we would get money from these state agencies,” he said.

Williams and Project Manager Tom Knuckey fielded questions from the audience. Many of the concerns centered around environmental impacts. Those, Williams said would be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement phase of the project.

Other people were concerned the boardwalk might become a haven for undesirables. Parks director Ken Mickelsen said there is likely to be so much activity on the boardwalk that “the good element will dominate.”

He pointed to the cleanup of Evergreen Park and how neighbors there have been vigilant about keeping it safe.

“It has the potential to be overwhelmingly positive, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be issues we’ll have to address,” Williams said.

Following this week’s meeting, Williams said the city has received more than 50 e-mails about the project.

The boardwalk idea initially took shape about 30 years ago and was included in the 1989 Bremerton Waterfront Access Plan.

To comment on the plan go to www.ci.bremerton.wa.us or e-mail Tom Knuckey at Thomas.Knuckey@ci.bremerton.wa.us.

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