In defense of home-grown bollards

Gary Sexton didn’t even flinch when I criticized him for overruling the buying of $160,000 worth of bollards for the new downtown Bremerton breakwater and insisting on a different source that cost $500,000 more.

A bollard is a fixture at marinas used to tie up mooring lines for boats or supply electrical

outlets, water access, etc. In the latter case, they also are known as power pedestals, which is what Bremerton wanted.

When the plans were being drawn up for the new $14.2 million breakwater just off the ferry terminal, the architects used the design of the Will-Burt bollard of Ohio because it is

the standard in the industry. When the bid of American Construction Co. of Tacoma for

the breakwater was accepted, however, plans already were in the works to dump Will-Burt

and go instead to a firm in Port Orchard called Leader International.

It got the work for a local company, and one which already had done some other fixtures

for the city, light poles and park lighting. Sexton is the mayor’s man in charge of

the reconstruction and beautification of the waterfront. He has taken it so seriously that

he personally picked out every tree and bush and rock that is there.

No kidding.

William Randolph Hearst didn’t put more individual taste into furnishing of Hearst’s

castle in California than Gary Sexton has put into plants and rocks in Bremerton. Not to mention bollards.

Of course, he wasn’t using his own money, a la Hearst.

Gary, who was my lawyer once back before he went straight, invited me for lunch and a tour of his territory. He was pretty gimpy on account of he had a hip replacement a couple of months or so ago, but he obviously is smitten with his new love, the waterfront.

What, I asked, makes your Port Orchard bollard better than the Ohio bollard that’s

worth half-a-million bucks more than the original $160,000?

Ambience, he said, his bollard had ambience — that meaning atmosphere. Since all the light fixtures and other posts and things on city property were painted Long Beach

blue, I assumed that was what he considered ambience, which I figure they could

have achieved with a little paint on the gray $160,000 Will-Burt bollards.

It wasn’t just the paint, said Sexton, although he is truly smitten with Long Beach

blue. Ambience is important to boaters, he said.

He wants Bremerton to be a port of destination because boaters like what they see.

He also thinks the Port Orchard bollards are a classier item, with hookups for television

and water, as well as electricity. And they have LED lighting, which provides light without

heat, last indefinitely and use one-10th less power than ordinary lighting.

The new breakwater is being built in Everett and will be brought down in sections to become 1,440 feet long, with a 25-foot wide boardwalk, and accommodates boats up to

36 feet long. It’s especially designed to resist ferry wakes which have been known to toss

boats up on boardwalks at marinas.

There will be 230-plus permanent slips and 100 slips for guest boaters, who are expected

to spend $162.38 a day on food, drinks and hotels. Yes, boaters like to stay in hotels

when off on their trips. Sexton reckons the economic impact of the new breakwater at

more than $10 million a year.

He have me a tour of the park, which he insisted on being people- and kid-friendly.

Tables and chairs rather than benches.

Wading pools. Some magnificent trees and rocks. No keep-off signs. Friendly. Good

show, Gary. Now, about those bollards...

Adele Ferguson can be reached at PO Box 69, Hansville, WA 98340.

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