Bremerton quashes pocket park idea

The proposal “does not have sufficient support at this time,” Mayor Greg Wheeler said.

The city of Bremerton has nixed an idea to build a pocket park in front of the Burwell pedestrian tunnel ten days after proposing it to local residents, citing public opposition.

“You spoke and I heard you,” Mayor Greg Wheeler wrote in a statement released Thursday. “Based on the input received from both the survey and from those that attended the public meeting, it is clear that the proposed pocket park does not have sufficient support at this time, and so I will not be moving this initiative forward.”

During a public forum Tuesday, opponents of the pocket park – which would have closed a half-block segment of Park Avenue north of Burwell Street to traffic – said it would inconvenience drivers and might impede access to Bremerton businesses.

However 57 percent of respondents to the survey cited by Wheeler said they supported the idea, saying it would increase pedestrian safety and that it was an “innovative concept,” according to a PowerPoint from city staff.

The survey had 429 respondents as of Tuesday. The vast majority of those who opposed to the park – 86 percent – cited traffic concerns, something the mayor said he was particularly responsive to.

“I’m not convinced this doesn’t hurt our circulation problems,” he said.

Those concerns proved decisive for Wheeler, who said he appreciated the input from the public.

“As Mayor, I am always open to considering ideas to improve the lives of our citizens and the economic vitality of the City,” he wrote. “I want to thank everyone who took the time to provide their input and look forward to continuing to work with you all as we move Bremerton forward together.”