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Austurbruin gets go ahead to erect signage

POULSBO — It’s been said that good things come to those who wait and residents in the city’s Austurbruin neighborhood can fully attest to that fact.

For more than two years, they have worked on Austurbruin Park, a community garden and additional open spaces in the neighborhood.

Their efforts resulted in a $3,000 grant from the Puget Sound Action Team to erect educational signs at various points in the neighborhood, explaining key elements of the project.

“We’ve worked on this for quite some time and we should have the signs up within the next week,” resident Greg Relaford said Sunday morning as he stirred a batch of concrete for the foundation of a sign in the community garden.

Neighbors in the area have a clearly defined interest in the environment and are doing all they can to help reduce run-off into Liberty Bay, Relaford explained.

“It’s amazing how water flows through here and we want to do our part to keep it as clean as we can,” he said, noting that some of the efforts neighbors have already made include planting trees and other native shrubs around the park and making headway toward restoring the wetland that exists in the area.

“We’re taking it one step at a time and this is definitely one of those steps,” Relaford said.

Even though neighbors had anticipated erecting the signs in May, he admitted that the permitting process took longer than expected.

“It was just a matter of everybody getting on the same page and understanding what it was we were asking for,” he said.

Relaford pointed out that the neighborhood has assumed full responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the signs if anything should happen to them.

“We’ve designed them so they’re easy to repair and can be updated as things change in the area,” he explained.

The city has been supportive of the neighbors’ efforts, but it’s just been a matter of communicating effectively to get things done, Relaford said.

“This is a learning process for everybody and it just took a little longer than we expected,” he added.

With the signs well on their way toward completion, the next project will be the construction of a “sea street” on the corner of Caldart Avenue and Curt Rudolph Loop.

“That area is constantly wet and grass just doesn’t seem to cut it, so we’re planning on building a sea street to help with the run-off in that area,” he continued.

The street would resemble a rain garden that is specifically designed to increase water absorption in the area through the use of native plants that thrive in wet conditions.

“Nothing grows in that area and in our minds, at least, it’s the perfect location for a rain garden,” said resident Kathryn Owen.

Even during dry periods the area remains sponge-like and is almost impassable for lawnmowers and other maintenance equipment, she noted.

“We’re just trying to figure out what works best and take care of the environment,” she said

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