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Marina playground will bear Huntington’s name

A special surprise greeted longtime Port of Bremerton Commissioner Mary Ann Huntington at her final board meeting earlier this month.

“What an honor and a total surprise,” Huntington said after receiving three special recognitions from her fellow commissioners at the Dec. 11 meeting.

“All of the resolutions were a surprise since I asked not to have any recognition for me.”

The biggest surprise, Huntington said, was the fact that her fellow commissioners and port staff decided to rename the Marina Children’s Park she helped bring about nearly two years ago after her.

“It was kept very quiet,” said Ginger Waye, the port’s executive assistant. “I didn’t even know about it until I was typing up the resolution that afternoon.

The resolution states that the name of the park will now be the “‘Mary Ann Huntington Children’s Park’ in honor of her inspiration leading to the establishment and construction of the park.”

In 2005, Huntington forged a partnership between the port and the Soroptimist International of Port Orchard that ultimately brought her longtime dream of such a park to life.

“They said they had some extra money and asked me if I had a project for them to do, and I said, ‘Boy, do I!’” Huntington said when the plans were first announced. “And they loved it, and took it back to their board, and it was approved.”

Soon, Soroptimist members began picking out the playground equipment they were going to purchase, which included a climbing apparatus, a slide, and a few “spinner bowls.”

The port contributed the land for the park, plus the labor assembling the equipment and creating a concrete border and bed of soft chips for protection from falls and scrapes.

Since the park has been built, the port acknowledged that the “Port Orchard Marina has benefited greatly by the establishment of the children’s park and the children of Port Orchard have also gained a new, safe place to play.”

Huntington said the park was definitely a “team effort,” but she was touched and happy to have her name etched permanently on it.

“Just imagine, something named after me and I’m still alive — I’m so excited,” she said. “I love that little park, and someday in the far future I’ll be able to take my great grandkids down there and get tears in my eyes watching them laugh and play.”

Huntington said the port and Soroptimist team has already begun work on the next phase of the park area, which she explained will be “a covered gazebo with picnic benches and tables for adults to rest at while the kids play.”

She said the money has already been budgeted by the port and raised by the Soroptomist.

Waye said a plaque and monument should be placed at the park sometime early next year.

The port gave Huntington two more recognitions at her final meeting, one for her 18 years of service as a commissioner, and one for her two years as board president.

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