Port denies 9/11 memorial for Silverdale waterfront

The Port of Silverdale Board of Commissioners denied a request to construct a 9/11 memorial at the Silverdale waterfront Thursday evening.

With commissioner Ed Scholfield abstaining, the remaining two commissioners voted 2-0 to reject a proposal by the 9/11 Memorial Committee to construct a memorial using steel beams from New York.

Scholfield, who said he was against the project in the beginning, said both the port and surrounding businesses could have benefited from both a financial and beautification standpoint because the port would not have had to foot the bill for the construction of the memorial.

"I don't see an expense at all for the port," he said. "Look at the money we're saving and improving this property."

However, his fellow commissioners didn't see it that way.

"The property needs to remain open in any way, shape or form," said commissioner Lawrence Greaves after voting to reject the request.

Commissioner Henry Aus, like Scholfield, admitted he was skeptical of the project before seeing the proposal. And, while he said the memorial should be erected, it shouldn't be at the port's expense, he said.

"I really think a memorial is great," he said. "Another part of me says it need not ought to be on our port property."

Members of the 9/11 Memorial Committee had been eyeing the grassy area between the boat launch and dock at the Silverdale Waterfront Park. Two steel beams are already set for shipment to Silverdale to be used in the memorial. Now, the committee will have to search for a new place to put it.

"We will be bringing that steel to Kitsap County," said Roy Lusk, assistant fire chief with Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue and committee member. He added that he acknowledged the commissioners made a tough decision, but felt it wasn't the right one. "I wish we could have persuaded them."

Plans for the memorial also included winding pedestrian pathways, low-lying granite walls with etched names, dates and pictures and a pentagon-shaped slab of concrete. That will likely change, at least somewhat, to accommodate it's eventual location.

Lusk said the committee has a list of nearly 17 other possible locations including the Newberry Hill Heritage Park and the Old Mill Park in Silverdale.

The steel is scheduled to arrive by motorcycle escort on August 22, and will be temporarily housed in the north parking lot of the Kitsap Mall.

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