UPDATE | The Waypoint opens on Winslow Way

Tom Swolgaard asks that anyone who contributed to The Waypoint to raise their hands. The Waypoint opened on Winslow Way and Highway 305 on March 1. - Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review
Tom Swolgaard asks that anyone who contributed to The Waypoint to raise their hands. The Waypoint opened on Winslow Way and Highway 305 on March 1.
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review

It took quite a few people to establish Bainbridge Island’s newest park, The Waypoint, and many of them were present as it was opened to the public last week.

“Look what we did!” said Bruce Weiland to a crowd gathered in the rain to commemorate the official 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.

On Friday morning, March 1, 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,” said island architect Johnpaul Jones, who designed the park.

“When you travel and you come back off the ferry boat you can say ‘I’m home,’” he told the crowd.

The same scissors used to cut the ribbon at the opening of the Agate Pass Bridge in 1950 were used to open The Waypoint. They were held by a handful of local figures, including Rotarian Jim Chapel, who guided every step of the process.

“This is the miracle on Winslow Way,” Chapel said.

Chapel recalled how one day 2 ½ years ago he got sick of looking at the fenced-off corner and went to the city to see what could be done.

He was told “not much.”

Chapel doesn’t work well with “no,” however. After he met with the city manager and was told the city had no money or time to invest in a new park, he started the citizens park task force who took the idea from a mere notion to the park it is today.

“The community, individuals, the chamber of commerce, the historical society, everybody has jumped on board to make this happen,” Chapel said.

“It was like ‘The Perfect Storm,’ all the elements converged here on less than an acre. All the people and organizations came together to make this happen,” he said.

The property was formerly a gas station, but more recently it has been considered an entryway 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.

The opening drew a collection of notable islanders

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