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Rock wall renovation now falling into place

POULSBO — The city and port know what they want to do with the deteriorating rock wall at Waterfront Park but they still need a plan and most of all — money. That, too, may be on its way soon as the pair approved consultant Parametrix late last month.

In August, the city and port jointly sent out requests for proposals to eight consultants on Poulsbo’s small works roster. Consulting firms were asked to submit letters of interest in working on preliminary engineering plans, permit applications and grant proposals for:

• Replacement of the port’s old bulkhead and breakwater (port project).

• Rearrangement or modification of the layout of the port and dredging (port project).

• Replacement of the rock bulkhead with some kind of vertical wall (joint city/port project).

Parametrix was chosen from the five small roster consulting groups that replied to the request. The company is headquartered in Kirkland, but a Bremerton branch will be working on the project. The group has worked on similar projects at sites including the Asarco smelter in Tacoma, the Seattle area Alaskan Way Viaduct and the Port of Seattle.

Parametrix was the unanimous choice of the selection committee mainly due to the innovations offered in its proposal, Poulsbo City Engineer John Stephenson said. Committee members, he added, were impressed with Parametrix’s vision for replacing the sloughing rock wall with a vertical wall and creating “tide pool” steps down to the beach, scenic overlooks and ties to the Marine Science Center along the way.

“We thought they were really innovative in looking for ways to tie the physical improvements to some of the educational opportunities at the Marine Science Center,” Stephenson said, adding that the city had long looked for a way to better tie waterfront park to the center.

Whether or not Parametrix’s exact vision for the waterfront will become a reality is still an unanswered question, but Port of Poulsbo Manager Ed Erhardt, who also sat on the selection committee, said he was impressed with the company’s overall feel for the issue.

“Parametrix came in with people who were enthusiastic, knowledgeable about the tasks at hand and willing to go the extra mile with grants and look at all places,” Erhardt explained. “I think their concept of what they have to do is to try and make things all work together.”

On the city side, Stephenson said another appealing aspect of Parametrix was that the company has a long track-record of successful projects in Poulsbo. Parametrix’s local designs include the Viking Way widening, Lincoln Road improvements and a State Route 305 Environmental Inventory for the cities of Bainbridge Island and Poulsbo, the Suquamish Tribe and Kitsap County.

Unlike hiring contractors, where the city chooses the lowest bidder, Parametrix was hired for its professional services by a selection committee based on qualifications. Now that Parametrix has been approved as the project consultant the city and company will soon negotiate a budget and scope of work before the project begins.

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