Marina Upgrade Added to Renewal Projects
By Steven Gardner, email@example.com
January 15, 2006
Dick Burdick is a believer in the transformation of the city's downtown waterfront.
Burdick, 75, was one of the early buyers of the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority's Harborside Condominium project, purchasing a 1,400-square-foot, two-bedroom unit overlooking Sinclair Inlet.
He'll be at home in the waters as well, adding a 21-foot Bayliner walk-around boat dubbed "Fish On" he'll be able to see from his balcony.
"I did it because I had decided to invest in the waterfront, I think that investment, if at all possible, should include both a living space and a boating space," he said this week from Maui, where he and his wife, Jo Anne, are spending the next several weeks.
Burdick said the boat will give him a place to tinker, relax or escape. "When I'm grumpy I can go down there and watch football," he said.
According to housing authority officials, eight other condo residents have similar plans, reserving boat slips in what is planned for the new Bremerton Marina.
The Port of Bremerton is in the planning stages of expanding its marina from 45 visitor slips to 352, of which 230 would be permanent.
Port commission members are still considering how to pay for the $22.9 million project. Options include general obligation bonds, an industrial development levy, private funding, tax credits, loans and grants.
The commission has to decide the financing question before going to bid on the new 1,400-foot floating breakwater shaped like a "T" to block the wake left by passing ferries.
That bidding is supposed to begin in late February.
The new marina will require a 45-degree northward shift of the USS Turner Joy and a repositioning of the passenger-only ferry dock to allow access to the new crop of boaters expected.
Those expectations are excessive, said Gary Hunter, who lives on his boat in the Port Orchard Marina. "There are not 342 boaters looking for uncovered slips," he said Tuesday after the commission decided to proceed with the project. "They're going to waste all that millions of dollars and they (the new boat slips) are going to sit empty."
One reason Hunter believes the marina will struggle stems from the commission's decision to build no covered slips. He said an ad hoc committee recommended covered slips, as did a consultant hired by the port to do an economic analysis.
Hunter said the Northwest winters make a marina with covered slips more attractive to a broader number of boaters. "This isn't San Diego," he said.
Port Commissioner Bill Mahan countered that the decision to go with uncovered slips was financial, that the cost of adding the covers wouldn't pay off in the short run. "We wouldn't see an advantage financially for 25 years," he said.
Burdick sees the open slips as a plus.
"I'm one of the ones that wanted it not to be covered," he said. "I think it would ruin the visibility for the homeowners. Looking down on a bunch of boats is very, very exciting to me."
Burdick said that he made sure the slips wouldn't be covered before investing in the marina. He said he would have purchased the condo with or without the new marina, but the new boat facility did influence him to invest in a condo in The 400, a private development just north of the Harborside units.
The Burdicks will move out of their 3,000-square-foot home on Liberty Bay and have already sold their Maui condo in what Dick describes as a lifestyle change.
Norm McLoughlin, housing authority executive director, said marina expansion provides another way to market Bremerton. "We've been talking about the expansion of the marina since we started; it's something that's been part of the plan all along.
The port assigned 25 slips to the Harborside condos and there have been discussions between port officials and developers of The 400. Since both condo projects have second phases there may be more opportunities to do some cooperative marketing.
Making the marina project enticing to boaters will require further downtown revitalization, McLoughlin said, including new restaurants and shopping opportunities for visiting boaters.
Housing authority representatives were on hand this week at the Seattle Boat Show, where the port had a booth advertising its properties and the expanded marina.
Ken Attebery, the port's chief executive officer, said plans call for the permanent slips to be filled by the end of 2011, four years after the expanded marina is scheduled to open.
He said the port has received interest from 265 people, not including whatever interest the port generated at the boat show. He said the port's Port Orchard marina has 80 people on a waiting list and believes that is generally the case at marinas throughout Central Puget Sound.
Hunter said the ferry wake alone is reason enough to doubt the expanded marina will attract new boaters. He questions whether the breakwater will do the job it's supposed to.
"I'm not saying Bremerton doesn't deserve a better marina. I'm saying it's a terrible place to have a marina," he said.
Attebery said testing done at Oregon State University showed the breakwater would effectively calm the swells caused by passing ferry boats.
If the marina does fill and becomes a popular boating spot, it would add about 200 jobs and $2 million a year in revenues locally from boaters visiting nearby restaurants, shops, a boat repair yard in Port Orchard and the marina itself, Attebery said.
Burdick is banking on the marina plan working, and thinks other boaters will be too. "It's like having a summer place. You got it all," he said. "That, I think, is going to be the dream of most the people who get a slip there."