Parks board urged to dissolve

In a meeting of the South Kitsap Parks Board of Commissioners on Thursday, a contingent of community members publicly requested the board voluntarily dissolve itself once and for all.

And they’re not stopping there.

Kathy Simpson, John Conte and Mary Colborn addressed all five board members, including newly elected Chair Warren Collver, during the time allotted for public comment, asking them to create a resolution to dissolve and create a set of conditions under which the dissolution would move forward.

Simpson said that while she appreciates all the commissioners have done for the South Kitsap Community Park, it’s time to turn it over to Kitsap County along with a set of stipulations that would allow it to continue to serve the recreational needs of the community.

Among the reasons Simpson listed for wanting the board to dissolve was the high turnover rate among its commissioners.

According to Simpson’s research, there have been 32 commissioners in the past 11 years.

Only nine have finished their terms in office, including acting Chair Larry Walker and Marjorie Rees.

“We have started a petition for the dissolution of the board,” Conte said. “We will be presenting several thousand signatures at your next meeting.”

In the petition, organizers write, “We believe that the South Kitsap Community Park District has been unable to adequately provide stewardship, management, and direction for the park, in the best interest of South Kitsap residents.”

“We’re not going away,” Colborn said. “You just need to know that we’re not going away.”

Simpson said she’s frustrated that the meetings between the board and the county commissioners are private. She asked Walker to take the initiative and hold a public meeting with county officials.

Walker responded that his request for a public meeting to discuss the park was denied by the county’s attorney after input from the commissioners. Walker also said at this point a resolution was not in the cards.

“Until we actually have a good hard-copy goal, we can’t move forward with anything,” he said.

The South Kitsap Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners meets again on May 25 at 6 p.m. at the Port Orchard Vista Retirement and Assisted Living Community.  

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