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Park plan to be ‘unveiled’ tonight

Residents ‘will be comfortable with what they will be seeing,’ county official predicts.

The public will get its first look at the final draft plan for South Kitsap Community Park tonight, continuing a series of meetings designed to create a recreational environment that suits the entire South Kitsap region.

Kitsap County officials declined to share details of the plan, in an effort to give all those interested a chance to learn about it at the same time. They did, however, disclose that most of the development will occur at the southwest corner of the park, near the intersection of Jackson and Lund, and the remainder of the park would still consist of a network of hiking and biking trails.

The park consists of approximately 220 acres. The developed portion would account for approximately one-third of the total total area.

“We are using the word ‘unveil’ here about this plan,’ said Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Director Chip Faver. “But there is nothing in this plan that isn’t already familiar to the community. They will be comfortable with what they will be seeing.”

Tonight’s meeting is the fourth in the current series, during which attendees broke into small groups and discussed which facilities should be located in specific park locations.

Some of the items shown on the drawing, which is viewable online in an abstract drawing, include a paint-ball area, a dog park and a concert space.

While the parks staff declined to provide specific details, Parks Project Coordinator Martha Droge confirmed that a skateboard facility is part of the plan.

“The idea of a skateboard park received a great deal of support from the community,” Droge said, “so it will come as no surprise that it is included in the plan.”

Droge called the final draft “a compilation of everything that has been presented so far by the participants.”

After presentation to the public and an opportunity for comments, the plan will go to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board for approval.

It will then be sent to the county commissioners. At the same time, parks staff will begin prioritizing the improvements.

Even though construction is scheduled to commence in 2009, “It will never be completed,” according to Droge.

The local parks department recognizes the need to improve the facility and has noted a significant public interest in the project. As evidence of this, at least 100 people attended each meeting in order to become actively involved in the planning process.

Still, parks officials have no count of how many people use the parks or the trails, since no counting mechanisim — such as admission fees — is in place.

“We don’t have any idea as to how many people are using the trails on a daily basis,” Faver said. “But there is no vegetation encroaching on the trails, which means they are being used regularly.”

Tonight’s meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will take place in the Kitsap County commissioners’ chambers in Port Orchard.

For more information or to comment, call (877) 292-6412, send an e-mail (skpark@co.kitsap.wa.us) or visit the www.skpark.org Web site.

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