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SK parks board accepts county’s proposal

Ending months of speculation and accusations, the South Kitsap Parks and Recreation District Board voted Thursday night to accept a “tweaked” takeover proposal from Kitsap County and relinquish the park.

“What we have before us on the table is a marvelous deal,” said board chair Larry Walker. “This is far superior to the previous offer.”

As before, the county promises it will invest $2.19 million and withdraw pending legal action against the board if it dissolves and hands over the park.

But Walker said the latest proposal included something even more important in his estimation — a guarantee that all 200 acres would be united and remain a park.

“That can only be revoked by a special ballot election that receives the support of the majority of South Kitsap County residents,” Walker said. “I don’t think we can get any stronger protection for that park than that. I will go on record as saying that was my contribution to this.”

Another “tweak” Walker pointed out Thursday as positive was phrasing that stated only by “mutual” agreement between both parties could an existing tenant’s contract be modified or terminated.

Commissioner Warren Culver then made a motion accept the proposal, and Ron Flerx seconded it before addressing the crowd gathered at the board’s Park Vista meeting room.

“The citizens deserve more than we can give them, though it’s not all our fault,” Flerx said, explaining that at least one failed levy hampered their efforts to improve the park and create a reliable revenue stream. “(However), I personally feel the dialogue is not going to change. I don’t believe the county has the funds (either) to build the park up to the standards of the South Kitsap citizens.”

Following the discussion, which Walker advised the crowd was for the board members only, the commissioners passed the motion to accept the proposal, with Flerx and Culver voting “yes” to Marjorie Rees’ “no.”

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