County makes pitch to Parks Board

Kitsap County Commissioner Jan Angel said she has presented a proposal to the South Kitsap Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners that would effectively resolve both the election debt the board owes the county and its future.

That future was made uncertain when the county sued the board over the debt for control of the South Kitsap Community Park last year. The commissioners voted last August to file a lawsuit against the parks district asking for payment of an accumulated election debt and seeking an injunction barring the district from holding further elections unless it is able to pay the cost.

The board counter-sued in September, denying the district was insolvent and alleging the county commissioners had no right to deny them an election last November.

With both suits still pending, the Board held elections for three seats in November, raising its accumulated election debt to more than $50,000.

Angel explained that last Friday, Mark Mauren, Kitsap County Facilities, Parks and Recreation director, and the county’s attorney met with Ron Flerx and Larry Walker, chair and former chair of the South Kitsap Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners, and their attorney to discuss the problem of the board’s debt and its future.

“The meeting went very well,” Angel said.

Angel said she and fellow county commissioners Chris Endresen and Patty Lent met in executive session on Monday to discuss a proposal that would benefit both the county and the board.

“We shot a letter out of here Monday afternoon with a proposal to the Parks Board,” Angel said. “The ball is now in their court. I’m hoping they’ll address this sometime in the month of April.”

Angel said Kitsap County has the opportunity to acquire “big funding” for the South Kitsap Community Park, but “time is of the essence.”

Angel also contacted Mary Colborn, who is spearheading a fundraising campaign to finance an $18 million community recreation center in the park, and asked her to cancel the April 25 launch of her capital fund drive “Pennies for the Park.”

“I was a little frustrated that she wants us to stop our work and demands secrecy, and yet she won’t commit to advancing the vision for the recreation center,” Colborn said.

Colborn said Angel asked her for 30 days to give the board time to decide whether to accept Angel’s proposal.

“I’m really concerned about the people and the citizens thinking things are going in one direction when they’re really going in another,” Angel said.

“I have no comment,“ Flerx said after the meeting with the county commissioners. “I’m not at liberty to say anything about what transpired at the meeting or what was said.”

Flerx reported that the commissioners will discuss the proposal in an executive session scheduled to take place at the board’s April 13 business meeting.

“I will say that, personally,” he said. “I want what’s best for the park and what’s best for the community.”

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