Amongst the colorful umbrellas & rain drops, community members gathered for the dedication and grand opening of The Waypoint park located at the corner of Highway 305 and Winslow Way.Â This prominent corner is located at the first major traffic light after getting off the ferry and for years was an eyesore. It was an abandoned 76 station, then a vacant lot surrounded by chain link fence, and now has been transformed into a delightful public park that serves as an artistic gateway to Winslow Way.Â Designed by John Paul Jones, the same architect that designed the National Museum of the Native American in Washington DC, it is a public space worthy of praise and civic pride.
The Hometown Brass Band & Bethany Lutheran Brass Band provided jovial entertainment, attracting curious passerby to the event.
This truly was an impressive community project, with over 700 volunteer workers and donors. Â
There were many thanks expressed by Debbi Lester (former BI mayor), Bruce Weiland (head of the steering committee), Jim Chapel (volunteer coordinator extraordinaire), and BI's current mayor Steve Bonkowski.Â And BI Park District Commissioner Tom Swolgaard, promised to maintain the park and committed that "It will look as good 20 years from now as it does today."
This park could not have been completed without generous time and contributions. Â
BI Rotary Club donated $80,000
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
Bainbridge Island Historical Museum
PHC volunteered time and supplies in completing the project
Over 500 "little checks" from community members
Bloedel Reserve donated over 500 volunteer hours in planting
The ceremony ended with the traditional cutting of the ribbon by Jim Chapel, Steve Bonkowski, and Tom Swolgaard.Â Not bad for a former 76 gas station!
While the park currently has wonderful features like downtown maps and Historical Markers representing the "flow of time" of the island, there is still more to come... the donor board, customized glass tiles, local artwork, and a large "Welcome to Bainbridge Island" sign.
As Jim Chapel said, next time you need to meet someone downtown, you can say "Let's meet at The Waypoint!"