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Final piece of water puzzle in place
PSNS Memorial Plaza open to
The fourth and final water feature of Bremerton’s Harborside District was officially introduced to the public May 16.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony — at the corner of Pacific Avenue and Burwell Street — to celebrate the completion of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) Memorial Plaza started with a welcome by Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman who said the shipyard workers possess a dedication that “is a credit to our city and to every citizen of Bremerton.”
Lt. Scott Deese, a chaplain at Naval Base Kitsap (NBK), gave an invocation and the Intermediate Maintenance Facility (IMF) color guard presented the colors. The national anthem was then sung by Britany Wiederrich before a handful of politicians, artists and naval personnel spoke about the park and its meaning.
Patty Lundeen, a design manager for Wet Design, the company responsible for the four water features around the downtown area, explained to the crowd how the water, which rises above the pool, symbolizes the mast of a great ship and is a tribute to the workers of PSNS.
Bremerton-born sculptor Will Robinson, the man responsible for sculpting the large boulders found throughout the park, talked about the honor he felt being able to do a project like this and how he wanted his sculptures to be used and touched rather than just looked at.
“I told my young assistant to make sure all of the corners were rounded,” Robinson said. “There are going to be children climbing on them.”
Gary Sexton, Bremerton’s economic development director, Cecil McConnell, president of the Bremerton City Council, and Capt. Mark Whitney, commander of PSNS and IMF, talked about how important the shipyard has been to Bremerton, but also how important it has become to the Navy.
Congressman Norm Dicks (D-Belfair) and state Rep. Frank Chopp (D-Seattle) reminisced about their younger days growing up in Bremerton. Chopp spoke about his father working at the shipyard when he was a boy and Dicks eluded to old football rivalries.
“I was from West Bremerton and he was from East Bremerton,” Dicks said as the crowd chuckled.
Vice Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of the U.S. Third Fleet, finished up the ceremony with a thank you message to the city of Bremerton, on behalf of the U.S. Navy.
The crowd shifted from the corner to the park and the water was turned on, displaying the “ship-like” rising water spouts from the pool closest to Burwell Street and creating a flow of water from the street to a steam-filled pond below, near the Puget Sound Navy Museum. Children touched and splashed the water and, as predicted, climbed on the rock sculptures.
“I think it is really nice,” Nicole Denery of East Bremerton said. “I am really impressed with this park.”