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The Waypoint opens on Bainbridge

Jim Chapel, Council Mayor Steve Bonkowski and Park District Commissioner Tom Swolgaard cut the ribbon at the opening of The Waypoint. - Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review
Jim Chapel, Council Mayor Steve Bonkowski and Park District Commissioner Tom Swolgaard cut the ribbon at the opening of The Waypoint.
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review

It took quite a few people to establish Bainbridge Island's newest park, and many of them were present when The Waypoint was opened to the public Friday.

"Look what we did!" said Bruce Weiland to a crowd gathered in the rain to commemorate the official opening of The Waypoint.Jim Chapel and Bruce Weiland shake hands at the public opening of The Waypoint.

Weiland was involved with a steering committee composed of community members dedicated to placing a public walkway on the corner of Highway 305 and Winslow Way. The property was formerly a gas station, but more recently it has been considered a fenced off eyesore that greeted islanders and visitors to the island as they stepped off the ferry.

The Waypoint now occupies the corner, filled with greenery, a walkway, benches and a welcoming feel.

More than 700 people got involved in the effort. And more than 500 islanders made financial contributions to the cause that was added to an $80,000 grant from the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island. Rotarian Jim Chapel guided the process every step of the way. Local contractor PHC Construction volunteered its resources and time to make the project a reality after island architect Johnpaul Jones designed the park.

On Friday morning, the people who made The Waypoint possible gathered with the island community to celebrate its success. The Hometown Brass Band and the Bethany Lutheran Church Brass Band were on hand to jazz up the event. Brownies and ice cream made the experience all the more sweet while people explored the island's newest addition.

"It's not a park, it's really a welcome place," Jones said as he address the crowd. "When you travel and you come back off the ferry boat you can say 'I'm home.'"

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