Trees and parking lots to be removed from Bremerton's Lions Park

Lions Park in East Bremerton will undergo a face lift starting next week, including the removal of its waterfront poplar trees and parking lot.

The overhaul will address environmental concerns, including the proximity of a four-acre parking lot to the Port Washington Narrows shoreline, and update the park's amenities with new pathways, a new playground and a restored beach area.

"The park right now is not ecologically sound and it's not sound in its infrastructure," said Bremerton Parks and Recreation Director Wyn Birkenthal.

The first step in the changes will be the installation of a silt fence March 18 along the 2,000 feet of shoreline at the park that will help control erosion during construction, Park Planner Collette Berna said. Starting March 22 most of the park will be closed to the public until its reopening in the spring of 2011.

"There are not many places we won't be touching," Berna said.

Upon closure, the deteriorating waterfront parking lot, which will be moved inland, will be demolished and the poplar trees, which are mostly diseased, will be removed.

The tennis courts and upper parking lot will be open during construction, and the boat launch and north trail loop will stay open until further notice.

The park renovation has been in the works for about three years, since a public survey indicated a need for changes, Birkenthal said. Since that time, Bremerton Parks and Recreation acquired a state Department of Ecology grant for $1 million and a National Parks Service grant for $500,000 and a $50,000 from the Bremerton Central Lions Club.

The refurbished park will include low-impact development features, such as rain gardens that will prevent stormwater runoff pollution, permeable parking surfaces and a "green roof" full of plants atop the restroom building.

Invasive plants such as scotch broom and blackberry bushes will be removed and replaced with native plants. A new basketball court will be built, along with an additional picnic shelter and restroom.

With its new look, the beach will look more natural, with new rock clusters and plants, and be more accessible to the public, Birkenthal said.

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