The Fussy Eye: Erupting to the Oldies

Nice try, Bremerton.

For those ferry-bound drivers who pass through Bremerton once a decade, its waterfront shows promising signs of change: traffic circles and landscaping, a giant new parking garage, and permits for Third Place developer Ron Sher's planned mixed-use complex. There's even a tantalizing new oasis just west of the lots where you wait to board the ferry. But good luck finding your way into three-year-old Harborside Fountain Park. For no reason we can understand, it's surrounded, like Gitmo, by razor-wire-topped fencing. You have to climb up-and-over to get in, via stairs that lead through the ferry terminal. Once you've achieved entry, the horrid blare of oldies radio greets you—also just like Gitmo. If ordinary ferry commuters are made to feel this unwelcome, terrorists will never have their picnics here. Half the park's $20 million budget went to detoxing the 1.7-acre site, which was donated by the Navy—so why further poison the atmosphere with Muzak? The park gets its name from five water-spouting funnels shaped like submarine conning towers or ships' smokestacks. Wrapped in copper planking suggestive of a wooden hull, they gurgle and erupt like whales' blowholes—or volcanoes—in a somewhat unpredictable sequence. (At night, they're lit.) It's a perfect place for bored kids to play. What a pity it's so hard to reach. Hasn't anyone in Bremerton heard of bollards? Harborside Fountain Park, 251 First St., Bremerton.

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