Lions restore pride to boardwalk

POULSBO — Jim Stark’s T-shirt said it all — “Poulsbo Lions Boardwalk Crew: We’re going to finish it this Saturday!”

But rather than being a brand new shirt, the testament was something Stark had worn each week since May 2004. He chuckled explaining that each week, he stood up at the Thursday club meeting and told members the project rebuilding the waterfront causeway would be concluding that weekend.

But this week, Stark’s T-shirt was right.

“I actually had a little trouble convincing the club members that we were really finishing today,” he said with a smile.

After 10 months of braving wind, rain, heat and slivers galore, the Poulsbo Noon Lions club put the last plank onto the Poulsbo boardwalk remodel project Feb. 26. This is the third time in the walkway’s more than 40-year history that the club has come to the structure’s aid but the latest project — involving replacing much of the supporting beams and the entire walking surface — was the largest by far, said Lion Elda Armstrong.

“We’re all really excited to be done. This has been a big one for us,” she commented. “It has been a big commitment of time for everyone who worked on it.”

While the physical project lasted a little less than one year, Lion Dick Prine said the commitment is one that is more than a year in the making. In September 2003, then Public Works Superintendent Bill Duffy announced that all of the boardwalk’s stringers, which support the walking surface, were rotten. At the beginning of 2004, the City of Poulsbo identified about $50,000 that could be used to revamp the structure. But with material costs ranging about $35,000-$45,000, volunteer labor was needed and Prine urged his fellow Lions to take up their hammers once again.

Prine said he’s looking forward to having more Saturdays free but he’s hoping this won’t be the last construction project the service organization takes part in.

“It’s kind of elation that we actually did do it but it’s sad because it’s been fun,” Prine said. “I love doing this kind of thing.”

Since May, a crew of about a dozen Lions have worked at least five hours most Saturday mornings on the project. But since the club made the promise to the community to keep the walking path open during construction, each week’s segment had to be completed before the workers could go home. Armstrong said some Saturdays, Lions were on site for eight hours or more.

Dale Anderson was one of the Lions who committed several of his weekends to the project. The long-time Poulsbo resident said he didn’t feel like he contributed as much as some of the volunteers who are trained in construction but he was more than happy to lend a hand any way he could.

“I’ve just enjoyed watching these fellows who know what they’re doing,” he commented. “I’m a retailer, not a handyman.”

The majority of the causeway work was completed by members of the Poulsbo Noon Lions, however, community members were also welcome to participate. Residents of the Gran Kirk, students from Kings West, Rotarian Dan Ryan and a lot of the families of the workers were among those who accepted the invitation. Poulsbo resident Mike Courtright said after seeing a notice in the paper that the Lions needed a few extra hands, he decided to commit quite a few of his Saturdays to the endeavor.

“I’m retired Navy and that’s kind of what I retired for — to do stuff like this,” he commented.

Working out in the elements on the Liberty Bay waterfront certainly made for some interesting times, Lions commented. Weather during the 10-month project ranged from last summer’s triple-digit temperatures to a few monsoon-like rainstorms that chased more than a few workers inside. But watching walkers along the scenic route Saturday morning, Armstrong noted that all of the work was worth it after all of the “thank yous” they’ve received from people who enjoy the amenity.

“We’ve had quite a few people walk by and look at the project,” she said “The community has shown a lot of interest.”

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