Government Center DedicationOn Saturday, October 22nd, about 750 people were on hand to celebrate the grand opening of another cornerstone project in downtown Bremerton!
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Dicks puts stamp on city's other cornerstone project
By Eric D. Williams, Sun Staff
October 24, 2004
Pop the bubbly, Bremerton's new home for government services is open for public viewing.
Kitsap County residents, along with the some of the county's top dignitaries, celebrated the grand opening of another cornerstone project in this waterfront city's emerging downtown core.
About 750 people were on hand to tour of the city's newest addition to its growing skyline the Norm Dicks Government Center.
Its namesake, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, was the man of the hour, receiving a rousing standing ovation during his introduction.
"I am humbled by your decision to name this building after me," Dicks said. "It means a lot to me and my family."
Dicks, a Bremerton native, thanked the crowd during the opening ceremony on a crisp autumn Saturday afternoon that would have been great weather for another of the congressman's favorite pastimes football.
Dicks played center at West Bremerton High in the late 1950s and at the University of Washington before going on to serve as representative of District 6 for 28 years. He sang along as the Northwest Navy Band serenaded him with the Husky fight song during his introduction.
Dicks' family was on hand to witness his illustrious honor, including wife Suzanne, sons David and Ryan, and his mother Eileen, who still lives in the same house Dicks grew up in just blocks away from downtown.
Dicks' father and grandfather both retired from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
He later became the first person from Bremerton to serve in Congress. Over his 28-year tenure, Dicks has steered billions of dollars to projects in the Kitsap Peninsula, earning him a reputation as a hard worker who gets things done in Washington, D.C., for his constituents.
A major contributor to and champion of Bremerton's continuing rebirth, Dicks said the government center is another step in the city's continuing process to rebuild itself.
"I am proud to have my name on this building, because it is a magnificent building," Dicks said. "And I am proud to have my office and staff here.
"I just want to make one thing clear we're not over yet. We still have a lot of work yet to be done. ... We are on a roll, and we are not going to stop until we get the job done."
Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman thanked former mayor Lynn Horton and former county commissioner Tim Botkin for keeping the project going when it looked like it might have been abandoned three years ago.
"It's amazing what people can do when there is a commitment," Bozeman said. "When it looked like we were down and out and on the ropes, we rallied and made it happen."
Later, Bozeman quipped: "Hey Norm, nice building you got here."
Most others getting their first glimpse at the $25 million, 100,000 square-foot facility agreed.
"It's beautiful," said Herb Werener, who lives just outside the city limits in East Bremerton. Herb came to the opening with wife Joyce.
"We don't quite know what the arrangements are, so we don't know how well it functions, but it looks like it's going to be nice. It's a far cry from what we had."
Phyllis Walker of Port Orchard liked the public accessibility and open space.
"I'm just really impressed," she said. "It's simple, clean and open. Too bad it wasn't done years ago already."
Pat Munns also came to see what all the commotion was about. Munns said his father, Dr. E.J. Munns, delivered Norm Dicks at Naval Hospital in 1940, and served as team doctor when Dicks played football for West Bremerton.
"I'm very impressed obviously, like everybody else," Munns said. "It's all about the past moving on into the future."
Dr. Scott Lindquist, executive director of the Kitsap Health District, said the move of his agency to downtown Bremerton served as a way to restructure his organization.
"The biggest thing for us is this is a new chapter for public health," Lindquist said. "It's going to be setting new expectations for what public health is. More professional. More customer friendly. And more integrated with county services, which is what this building is really all about."
Reach reporter Eric D. Williams at (360) 792-3343 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.