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Efforts growing to reopen county park in Olalla

OLALLA — More than 35 people attended a Jan. 3 meeting at the Olalla Community Center for the reopening of Anderson Point Park.

Rebecca Brown, one of the organizers, said during the meeting the group discussed reasons why the park was closed and the gate was placed on Millihanna Road.

The 66-acre park was closed due to landslides and washouts created by the severe storms of December 2010. Since then, Kitsap County has been unable secure funding from outside sources, such as FEMA and Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, to offset projected costs to repair the areas and stabilize the land.

She said a lot of people are interested and want the park reopened.

“It was our first time getting together and meeting each other,” Brown said. “It was good to put faces to names, and it was great energizer for us.”

She said a lot of people who attended the meeting have strong feelings about the gate.

“I feel like it was more questions than answers,” Brown said.

She said a Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy also was in attendance.

“He let us know what was legal and illegal to do about Millihanna Road.

Joel Colvos also gave out bumper sticker promoting reopening the park.

Comments about the meeting have been appearing on the Kitsap Citizens for Opening Anderson Point Park Facebook page since the meeting.

On his post, Troy Olson wrote closing the park sets “an awful precedence to our public rights that needs to be set on a proper course.”

Olson wrote weather-related damage is far from “extensive” as listed on the county parks website, but there are other problems.

“There are/were other problematic issues with late night parties and riff-raff at the parking lot that gave the county another reason to close the park,” Olson wrote.

He said that local residents have expressed their desire to keep their private gate in place until the county meets their demands with road improvements and other security-related concerns that are common within proximity to any park.

Kathryn Simpson wrote, according to the county’s 2010 Park Capital Facility Improvement Plan, there is no funding for the park through 2015.

Haley Barrett wrote, “While I understand people are upset about the gate and the park closure but it doesn't give anyone the right to damage the gate.”

According to the Kitsap County Parks Department website, N.L. Olson and Associates conducted field testing at Anderson Point Park in early December. The firm is expected to deliver their results to the parks department later this month.

A group of people, who want Anderson Point Park reopened, will meet in front of the Millihanna Road gate at noon on Saturday, Jan. 11. The group is planning to walk to the park entrance gate.

A Kitsap County Parks Advisory Board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, at the conference room of the Kitsap Sun Pavilion Center at the fairgrounds. It is located at 1200 NW Fairground Road, Bremerton. Residents will be allowed three minutes to speak during public comments.

The group’s next meeting is 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Olalla Community Center.

 

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