POULSBO — At the moment it looks like a pile of rocks and mud, but the way Bill Austin looks at it, you know he sees something beautiful.
During the last week of December, Austin and the non-profit Bight of Poulsbo put the wheels in motion to what will eventually become a man-made waterfall near the intersection of Bond Road and Lindvig Way. The project is expected to be completed by the middle of January, weather permitting.
“It’s been a dream of mine for years,” Austin commented on his motivation to push for the waterfall. “It just really needs to be there. It’s just something I have a passion for, doing these things that come to my mind.”
The piece, designed and built by local landscaping architects Jeff Pryde and Danny Blossom, includes more than 60 tons of surface rock salvaged from the Cascades and will pump between 90 and 100 gallons of water a minute into a shallow pool when it is finished.
But despite its enormous size, Blossom said his vision is to create something that is very natural looking. The design owes some of its congruity to a naturally-occurring ravine on the hillside from which the water will pour. The waterway will be further accentuated by landscaping of native plants and trees.
“You’ll have to wait and see it done. It’s hard to describe,” commented Blossom while searching for a more complete description of the finished product.
The land on which the waterworks will be situated is primarily owned by Austin, who will pay for the costs of upkeep and water use. However, a small piece of the parcel is city-owned. The Poulsbo City Council approved the Bight’s use of the property for this project at its Dec. 18 meeting.
Austin said the cost of the entire project was originally estimated at between $35,000 and $40,000. However, through a bit of pavement pounding and a little free advertising for donating businesses the group is down to only about $6,000 left to be paid.
“I’m the bottom line but hopefully we’ll get it all donated,” Austin explained.
Donations have included the 60 plus tons of rock from Northwest Rock Products of Kingston, an underground water holding tank from Fred Hill Materials, landscaping plants from Valley Nursery and even some monetary donations from local businesses and individuals.
All donors get their names or company logos on a sign next to the site for one year.
While he admits he’s had thoughts of adding statues, bridges or even a “Welcome to Poulsbo” sign to the site, Austin said for now it’s just going to be a waterfall. He hopes the sounds of rushing water will help cover some of the traffic noise at the busy intersection, and that it will become a place that people will enjoy. He sees the waterfall becoming part of a series of popular escapes inside the city including Nelson and Fish Park improvements and the eventual extension of the Liberty Bay Trail to the area.
“I think it will make a nice presentation to the entrance of Poulsbo,” Austin commented.