Bainbridge begins considerations for Waterfront Park, city dock

The city
The city's harbor commission has proposed a new city dock, as shown above, with three fingers for transient boats, a boat ramp, and accommodations for the island's crew and sailing teams.
— image credit: Image courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Harbor Commission

After receiving a windfall of funds from the Washington State Ferries settlement, the city of Bainbridge Island spent years deciding what to do with it.

Aiming the money at the city’s ailing Waterfront Park, the city now wants to discuss how it will spend its windfall.

The city has scheduled two community meetings to address future improvements to Waterfront Park.

The first meeting — from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 1 at the Waterfront Park Community Center — will focus on what the park could be, and officials will gather suggestions for park projects.

The second meeting from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 30, is also at the Waterfront Park Community Center. That meeting will focus on the design of the park.

“The city has allocated $1.8 million to the waterfront park the idea of these meetings is to find out what the community wants to do with the park and city dock,” said Heather Beckmann, an associate planner with the city.

The first meeting will bring Port Townsend-based speaker Dan Burden to the island to talk about the importance of the city’s park.

“He’s the co-founder of Walkable and Livable Communities Institute; he’s world-renowned,” Beckmann said. “He’s going to talk about the value of parks.”

Burden will also host a walk through Waterfront Park at 12:30 p.m., before the meeting. Interested islanders can meet at the Waterfront Park Community Center for the walk.

The second meeting will follow up on the ideas gathered at the first, and will also address the parkland’s past.

The input from the meetings will then be forwarded to the city council.

“All this information will go back to city council and we will be putting out, in July, an request for quotation for an architect to take the ideas flushed out during these meetings and come up with a design of what it could look like,” Beckmann said.

The city now has

$1.85 million waiting to be used on park improvements. The waterfront feature of downtown Winslow has received harsh criticism from islanders as not being sufficient and having a generally poor appearance.

The city’s dock has not been spared from the scathing critique. In response, the island’s seafaring and water-loving community is pressing to use much of the available money for considerable improvements to the city’s dock.

“After they’ve had these workshops, we hope (the city) will make a decision to proceed with the redevelopment of Waterfront Park and the city dock,” said Mark Leese, chairman of the city’s Harbor Commission.

Leese is not only pushing that the city approve much of the work the Harbor Commission already has proposed — including plans for construction of a new three-fingered city dock — but to act quickly.

“I hope they work in a timely fashion that will allow the city to apply for available grants for parks and docks,” he said.

Leese noted four potential revenue streams that the city could pursue; a boating infrastructure grant; a boating facilities grant; an aquatic land enhancement grant; and a grant that will pay to replace the city’s pump-out facility.

The Harbor Commission has previously stated that it would need $1 million from the $1.85 million set aside for the waterfront. The overall dock project would cost $2 million, and the commission aims to obtain the remaining funds through grants.

Leese said that the city’s dock is an investment in the community.

“The main benefactors of the new dock will be island residents for residential use,” he said. “Most of the people (at the dock) are the rowers who now have to walk into the water to launch their shells, which is unheard of.”

“Then there’s all the sailors, the sailing team for the high school,” Leese added. “For their dinghies, they have to go to a barge off the dock, and that should be brought alongside the city dock.”

The Harbor Commission submitted plans for a new dock to the city in March. The proposed remodel of the waterfront facility would replace the current single pier built in 1979 with a new pier that extends into three fingers.

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