Located at the busiest corner in Kitsap County, at Highway 305 and Winslow Way, and the entry point for Bainbridge Island and the Olympic corridor, The Waypoint is hard to miss. Construction at the former Unocal site is currently transforming it from a fenced off pile of rubble into a welcoming green space and walking trail for visitors and commuters.
Construction site manager Bart Berg told me that most of the people who really see and comment on the project there are those who walk by—commuters and visitors going to and from the ferry. And indeed as I stood and talked with Berg at the site, it was the walkers who stopped and chatted, waved and smiled, approving of the very visible progress happening at The Waypoint now. For drivers, the work there is obscured by distance and an ugly temporary fence.
Berg, who runs his own Landscape Firm on the Island and who grew up here, is working on The Waypoint project for one-third his usual fee. He is among many many people who have donated and continue to donate their time, money, and expertise to transform the two-year-old vision into a tangible reality.
And tangible it is. Over 1,000 plants are mostly in the ground now, planted in two feet of soil painstakingly spread over the half-acre site. Berg explained that the project started with a massive removal process of 2-4 inches of gravel that had covered the property for years. They were careful not to disturb the fill below the gravel that sits atop some remaining oil seepage from the former gas station.
Much of the greenery is a hardy plant called Ionicera that will grow to about 3 feet, but there also will be Mount Fuji cherry trees and other flora in the area to create an enclosed feeling for people walking through and taking time to sit a while on the numerous redwood benches. Ann Lovejoy is helping oversee the plantings to help ensure the integrity of the large ravine and watershed that abuts the property.
The site also will be home to two metal sign sculptures made by Island artist Garth Edwards and several redwood-based historical markers created by the Bainbridge Island Community Woodshop woodworkers displaying informational signs about local Native American tribes, created by the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum.
Boulders donated from a home in Kingston anchor the ends of sandstone walls and adore the planting areas and three rain gardens on the site.
Berg said the official completion date is Valentine’s day, February 14, 2013. Before then, there is still much work to be done. “The landscaping will be finished soon, but then there is irrigation, mulching, and cleaning and some resealing of the concrete,” he explained.
The Waypoint project is about half way to raising the $400,000 needed to pay for the project. Want to donate? Call 842-2093 to find out how.
- Kitsap’s Ugliest Intersection Gets a Makeover as Bainbridge’s Waypoint Breaks Ground
- City Council Supports Plan to Make Unocal Site into a Park
- Grant to DOE for Cleanup of Unocal Site Raises Concerns on Council and at Kitsap Transit
- Letter to the Editor: Let’s Make a Park at Highway 305 and Winslow Way
Photos by Julie Hall; image courtesy of Shannon Buxton.