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Westpark charette yields pleasing results

The new Westpark, which could begin construction in summer 2007, will feature 759 new homes.  - Courtesy of studioYVESinc, Rice Fergus Miller, Torti Gallas and Partners, Marathon Development and the Bremerton Housing Authority
The new Westpark, which could begin construction in summer 2007, will feature 759 new homes.
— image credit: Courtesy of studioYVESinc, Rice Fergus Miller, Torti Gallas and Partners, Marathon Development and the Bremerton Housing Authority

After Westpark is redeveloped in coming years, the neighborhood will never be the same.

After the design charette process which took place at the Westpark Community Center last week, everyone involved in the project and those interested have a much clearer picture of just how different Westpark will be.

“What came out of the charette is exactly what we expected to do, (which) is come out with our preferred plan ... which needs to go to the board for final approval,” said Kathryn Jerkovich, project manager for Marathon Development.

The charette process allowed for input from a variety of sources, which according to Jerkovich, included officials from the city planning department, Mayor Cary Bozeman and his department heads, Kitsap Transit, Bremerton Housing Authority (BHA) commissioners, employees, relocation task force members and residents and also neighbors of the Westpark community.

“They all provided comments, had questions and it was a good exchange of information,” Jerkovich said.

The preferred plan derived from the charette shows retail space in the northwest corner of the site, a possible four-story office building with street-level retail at the corner of Oyster Bay and Kitsap Way which would be next door to Firs II, currently under construction and 759 residences including cluster cottages, condominiums, apartments and single-family housing, Jerkovich said.

BHA interim executive director David Gitch said the housing authority was pleased with the process and its results.

“My take on it is that the housing authority and the board ... (were) very favorably predisposed toward the results of the week-long charette,” Gitch said. “They were pleased ... with the affordable housing (and) the sight lines and attractiveness of the facility.”

Jerkovich said there were 19 meetings in five days to create the design and Gitch said in addition to the preferred plan, there is an alternate with more retail space, leaving BHA with attractive options.

“The (construction) is phased in a way that there is some choice that can be made ... in the project not just at the beginning but a year or two into the process,” he said.

Gitch said the entire BHA board participated in the charette Thursday, May 11 and all but one took part in the wrap-up the following night.

“We were pleased with the participation of the shareholders in the community,” he said. “The feedback I had and observed during the time I was there was that ideas from everyone were listened to. Many or most of these ideas were at least tried or discussed among the design group.”

Some ideas from ordinary citizens wound up having big impacts on the final design like a Westpark neighboring resident’s input on maximizing views of Oyster Bay and Dyes Inlet and a park visualized by a current Westpark resident. The Master Gardeners offered plans for a small garden area for residents’ use and other green space.

“People got very charged up about the impact ... on neighboring business and homes, how (the redevelopment) will compliment that,” Gitch said.

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