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City won’t annex park

At last week’s public meeting of the South Kitsap Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners, several SK residents suggested the board form a partnership with the city of Port Orchard as an alternative to the board’s dissolution, as was requested by Kitsap County Commissioner Jan Angel.

“There were suggestions that we partner with Port Orchard or transfer the park assets to the city,” said board Chair Larry Walker after Wednesday’s meeting.

But Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel said the city is in no way set up to accommodate the suggestion.

“It couldn’t happen,” Abel said, “because (the Port Orchard city limits) don’t touch the boundaries of the park.”

According to Abel, in order for the city to control the park, it would have to annex it. However, in order to annex any piece of land into the city, the city limits must abut the proposed property.

In order for the city to annex the park, then, Abel explained that the city would have to annex the land between the city limits and the park first.

“It would be a hardship on the city at this point,” Abel said of the annexation and responsibilities that come with the park. “Operation and maintenance funds, grant money, state money — they’re few and far between.”

Abel said the City Council will be looking into its long-term annexation options in the next year or two but probably not before.

She said a lack of park funds within the city budget is another reason the Park Board’s suggestion is not feasible.

“Parks are the first things that go when citizens don’t want to raise taxes,” Abel said.

The next step for the board and the county has not been disclosed. Angel could not be reached for comment.

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