McCormick Village Park taking shape

Among the distinctive features the McCormick Village Park could include is a raised platform from which visitors could view the forest canopy from above. - Courtesy graphic
Among the distinctive features the McCormick Village Park could include is a raised platform from which visitors could view the forest canopy from above.
— image credit: Courtesy graphic

Parks should protect the health of the land, promote a healthy community and be available to all.

Those three principals guided Jones & Jones Architects in designing a $2.5 million park that may be built to the north of the McCormick Woods Golf Course off Old Clifton Road.

“It’s truly an ambitious project, but nothing ventured nothing gained,” said Dick Davis, a Port Orchard resident who served on a citizen advisory board for the project. “I don’t think I can recall a park anywhere like this on the Kitsap Peninsula.”

Unique features at the park include an outdoor amphitheater, a suspension bridge and a tower for viewing the forrest canopy.

“It’s basically, a clearing within the forrest,” said Cory Parker, a senior associate at Jones and Jones, who’s working on the project. “It goes out into trails and a commons and a beautiful landscape of trees.”

A citizen advisory committee, consisting of several city council members, citizens from the McCormick Woods area and others from the community, helped Jones & Jones develop three alternative plans for the park. Then, they helped mold the three plans into one.

The first emphasized nature.

It included limited structure, “a lot of natural preservation of the forrest, some small clearings oriented towards the road and some trails,” said Parker.

The second alternative highlighted fitness, with athletic fields and structure for formalized sports and games.

“It really emphasized getting people outdoors in more organized sports,” Parker said.

The third alternative focused on art, sculpture and landscape and “included various trails and picnicking things you would expect from a community park,” Parker said.

In the end, the committee favored the most natural, unstructured plan, but added elements they liked best from the fitness and arts alternatives.

“Like many processes, it wasn’t exactly the right fit,” said Parker, “So they chose what they liked best from the fitness and art alternatives and we developed the preferred alternative.”

In the end, the committee unanimously approved the plan said Tom Bonsell the associate city planner who facilitated the meetings.

Davis said the same.

“Bonsell was a terrific facilitator for this thing,” Davis said. “He had an open meeting and everybody threw out all these suggestions they had. It was really a free-flow and a very fruitful venture,” he said.

Going forward, another committee may look for funding for the park through city park funds, grants, partnerships, in-kind-donations and private donations.

“There is no taxpayer money in the project at this point in time,” said Davis. “The money came from a developer. The land came from a developer. And it’s up to us to continue that momentum and get the community to understand that this is a park that has some money already dedicated to it.”

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