News

Park groundbreaking next week

The Port of Bremerton and the Soroptimist International of Port Orchard will hold a groundbreaking ceremony next week for a new downtown children’s park slated to open this spring.

Port Orchard Marina Director Steve Slaton said there will be a small presentation with a ribbon-cutting and some shovels the morning of Feb. 15, and then the real work will begin.

“We’ve got quite a bit of prep work to do,” Slaton said, explaining that since it will take a few weeks to get the ground ready for the playground equipment, which is scheduled to arrive March 20, his crew wanted to leave plenty of time to complete the job.

Slaton said the port is donating the land and the man hours to get the small plot along the Port Orchard waterfront — just past the gazebo area — ready for the equipment, which will include slides and “spinner bowls.”

The park was first envisioned by Port of Bremerton Commissioner Mary Ann Huntington, who suggested the idea to the Soroptimists when she was asked if she had any projects she needed done.

“And I said, ‘Boy, do I!’” Huntington said. “And they loved it, and took it back to their board, and it was approved.”

Club member Billi Gurnsey said the Soroptimists would be spending about $40,000 total on the equipment, and that much of the money would be raised during the club’s main fundraiser, Fantasy in February, which is scheduled for Feb. 25.

Huntington said port employees will also be creating a raised, concrete border which they will fill with plenty of soft chips for protection from falls and scrapes.

The only thing the park won’t have, she said, are swings.

“I’m a grandma, so I told them ‘I have to have swings,’” she said, but explained that once crews began to map out the flat, grassy spot, they realized there would not be enough room to have swings.

Huntington is still overjoyed, however.

“It’s such a wonderful idea — we have the best view and best spot in Kitsap County, and we weren’t taking advantage of it,” she said, adding that she imagined parents being able to come watch concerts and other activities at the gazebo, and bring their kids to play at the park.

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