County looking for ideas for SK park

The South Kitsap Community Park has crawled out from under debate and litigation and is now ready to move forward. But in what direction?

Residents will have a chance to steer the direction of the park — and the more than $2 million alloted for the facility — at a public meeting Oct. 15.

At the meeting, residents can sign up for e-mail lists and let the county know their interest and investment in the park. The county will present information on what has happened with the park since taking it over from the South Kitsap Parks and Recreation District earlier this year, and discuss what funds are available and what has been spent.

Director of Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Chip Faver said most of the funds the county promised upon acquisition of the park remain unspent.

The county has been discussing a possible joint effort with the South Kitsap School District, but Faver declined to discuss the nature of that partnership prior to the meeting.

At that point, residents will be able to offer their own input, presenting ideas for the newly acquired facility.

A number of proposals were discussed previously, when the South Kitsap Parks and Recreation District held ownership of the property. Richard Swartz of Amajin Architecture and South Kitsap resident Mary Colborn suggested an environmentally friendly education facility be placed on the property.

Other proposals suggested included an area for a Boys and Girls Club and a skate park.

Faver points out the importance of parks like this, even with budget troubles at the county level. He noted that the state does not mandate the implementation and maintenance of parks, but it does mandate safety, health and other issues he said are prevented with a healthy park system.

“I would say it’s one of the few departments that does address those major issues with significant impact through prevention,” Faver said, explaining that health professionals will recommended spending time outdoors and walking to treat many ailments.

“The big issues to health and well-being,” he said, “(include) stress, weight and inactivity. Those things we address through prevention.”

Faver added that parks help keep minors busy and out of trouble.

The park has already received attention from the previous parks board, local volunteers and the county. U.S. Navy Seabees helped trim down dense growth areas to open up visibility from the road, and United Way Volunteers helped paint park benches.

The park was handed over to the county following litigation against the South Kitsap Parks and Recreation Board, which held election debt with the county and did not have the revenue to pay it back.

Ultimately the board decided that the park should be held by the County, but individual members have said they would continue to work with the park and see it grow.

The forum, titled “Gathering ideas for our park” is scheduled for Oct. 15 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Kitsap County Administration Building at 614 Division St.

For more information, call Marsha Richards at (360) 337-5350.

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