Kitsap parks director marks a new path

After nearly a month on the job, Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Director Jim Dunwiddie has submitted a list of departmental priorities to the county commissioners.

“I’m getting to know people and learning how the department operates,” Dunwiddie said on Monday, adding that he is not accustomed to the the pace of the employees.

“On one occasion, I said it would be nice to address a certain topic and the next day there was a meeting called to discuss it,” he said. ‘I may have to learn to keep certain things to myself.”

The list is in outline form, and has not been flushed out. More to the point, no program funding has been allocated.

The memo, then, becomes little more than a wish list.

First on the list is the development of a strategic direction, since the department has “many plans, with no focus” according to Dunwiddie.

Another high priority is to develop a public information plan, including weekly press releases and a path to regularly update the department’s Web site.

“One of the most important things we can do is to let people know what’s taking place in the parks,” he said. This is not just for the public, as South Kitsap Commissioner Charlotte Garrido said she “wants to know everything that is going on at the new South Kitsap Park, but I’m not getting a lot of information right now.”

Further acknowledging budget constraints, another priority is to “promote volunteer opportunities” according to the list.

This can only go so far, so an examination and revision of the fee structure is high on the list. This includes concession agreements and usage fees.

“Our resources are limited so we need to get the fees straightened out and the financial structure running the way it should be,” said Central Commissioner Josh Brown.

Much of the ability to accomplish goals leans on the availability of grants, which Dunwiddie said he will actively pursue.

Dunwiddie, who has an active interest in golf, said he will have more personal involvement with the county-owned Village Green Golf Course in Port Orchard.

He has spent much of his time in the planning and execution of dog parks — two in Port Orchard and another in Silverdale.

“We have turned the corner on this,” he said of these developments, then joking, “After this is done, I would suggest establishing a moratorium on dog parks through 2010.”

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