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Developers continue on Seabeck marina project — Community anxiously waits, supports
Warren Lewis, a third generation Seabeckian, signed up at the Seabeck General Store for a slip to moor his boat about three years ago at a new Seabeck marina. The marina didn’t exist at the time.
And, the project continues. While marina developers have had to overcome many hurdles and there still remains to be a ways to go until the Olympic View Marina is complete, Lewis’ support — like many — for it hasn’t stopped.
“We have nothing between Point No Point and Alderbrook,” Lewis said. “It’s just an economic first for Seabeck.”
Lewis has lived in Seabeck for 35 years, and like many other community members, gathered at a Tuesday town hall meeting at the Seabeck Conference Center, which was organized by the Central Kitsap Community Council, on Seabeck-related topics and issues. A majority of the people were there to learn more about what is happening to the marina project.
“We’ve seen the marina start and fold and go again,” said Sara Nell Davis, a 16-year Seabeck resident.
Davis said she is pleased to hear that work on the marina will soon be taking place again. Some concerns that she has heard from other residents include the marina’s breakwater affecting the shoreline and if there will be a partnership with the Port of Bremerton.
The private developers, Boyer Halverson and Wil Clark, are going on six years working on the project, which has included halts in the construction process by the state Department of Natural Resources, followed by more than 200 community members signing a petition and the developers going down to Olympia to negotiate leasing issues with department officials. A resolution on the lease agreement with the department was reached last summer, and the project was able to move forward.
“You’re not going to say anything to offend us, we’re thick-skinned,” Clark said to a group of more than 90 people at a first break-out session of Tuesday’s meeting.
To date, Clark estimates the developers have spent $1 million to $1.5 million out-of-pocket on the project including engineering, designing and permitting. At the beginning of the project, there were four developers in total and now Halverson and Clark remain working on it.
Halverson, owner of Boyer Towing, has personal ties to the project as his grandmother owned the Seabeck store from 1919 to 1936. Clark is with Pacific Pile and Marine, an international heavy civil and marine contractor, based in Seattle.
The two understand that the community is anxious for a new marina, but because they are paying for everything themselves, things could take some time. To give access to people sooner rather than later, the 200-slip marina will be built in two phases. The first phase will create about half of the slips and people will be able pay for moorage, which would help pay for the future expansion in the second phase.
“The reality — you won’t see any boats out here for 18 to 24 months,” Clark said.
As far as the DNR coming back and requiring higher fees, Halverson said that there should not be further issues because a five-year leased was signed with the department.
“The threat of the DNR problem is gone,” he said.
No decisions on whether any partnership with the Port of Bremerton with the Seabeck marina have been made, though the developers said discussions continue. An idea is that the port could operate the marina since it has more resources, said Halverson.
In terms of what is ahead construction-wise, Clark said that the main trestle will get decked in a month or so. And, as to not interfere with fish cycles, the breakwater would be put in toward the end of the summer.
Slips would be rented out on a month basis at the new marina. It will also include a fuel dock. The original marina dates back to the 1880s and has been a landmark for the Seabeck community.
Sue Arkless, who owns a building along the Seabeck Highway near the site, is excited for a new marina.
“My only concern is the hoops they have to jump through,” she said of the developers. “It’s been such a long haul for them.”
Dorene Fretwell, of Seabeck, who has lived in the area since 1979, said she pays $600 a year in taxes that go toward the Port of Bremerton. She doesn’t like the idea that her taxes are going toward the Bremerton Marina when she lives in Seabeck and can’t wait for Seabeck to have one of its own.
“We have no boat launch. We have no school. I think Seabeck needs to be noticed,” she said.
And, it has, as the community has shown relentless support for a new marina throughout the past several years.
“It just takes time,” Halverson said.