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South Kitsap Regional Park plan presented, process praised

According to the plan unveiled Wednesday night, South Kitsap Regional Park would have many new features. - Courtesy of Kitsap Parks and Recreation
According to the plan unveiled Wednesday night, South Kitsap Regional Park would have many new features.
— image credit: Courtesy of Kitsap Parks and Recreation

The public got its first look at the final draft plan for the South Kitsap Regional Park on Wednesday night, getting a clear idea of how the 200-acre resource could be transformed into a magnet for a variety of recreational activities.

“This has been a wonderful process,” said South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel. “And this is a big deal. This will give us a place for kids, and a place for seniors. You should congratulate yourselves because this has taken a lot of work.

“This may not have everything that everybody wanted,” Angel said. “But it comes darn close.”

The plan, with minor changes, will be presented at the Oct. 22 meeting of the Parks Advisory Board. It will then be passed to the county commissioners for final approval.

Some small changes will be incorporated before the final presentation, but there are no further public meetings scheduled before that time.

Before then, the latest changes and comments will be posted at www.skpark.org.

Angel, who noted that she has made very few absolute promises, did so on Wednesday night by pledging approval of the plan by the end of 2008, when she leaves office.

After approval, the Parks Department will begin to implement the proposals in logical order.

This is a somewhat uncertain process, since the time and funding needed to build the park’s various components depends on the grants the county hopes can be secured.

For instance, to build the planned skate park will cost around $850,000. Since less than half of that amount is targeted, the skate park will be constructed in a modular fashion.

With this in mind, Parks Project Coordinator Martha Droge has said the park “will never be completed.”

The draft plan is still a good start. As with the current configuration, the development is to concentrate on the southeast corner of the park where Jackson and Lund avenues intersect.

Aside from this, the proposed improvements and modifications include:

• An entry plaza/portal at the corner of Jackson and Lund, where pedestrians can enter the park. The current park entries, one on Jackson and another on Lund, are set into the middle of the block, which restricts park access.

The intersections at each entry point will be configured for safety. Traffic signals are cost-prohibitive and would impede traffic flow, but solutions like a lit crosswalk or the posting of red flags are possible.

• A state-of-the art skate park, just inside the park at the Lund entrance. At 35,000 square feet, the completed facility would have 21 different components that accommodate the most popular skating activities.

Because it will take time and money to complete the plan, two parts — a cross bisecting the park and a bowl — will be constructed first.

After seeing the plans, skate park advocate Mike Vandenbergh said, “It has everything we could imagine.”

• Parking for 700 cars. Currently, visitors can enter the park at one of the exits, but cannot drive through.

The new design connects the two entry points with a rotary that can be shut down if the need arises.

The parking area will be landscaped, and is bisected by the path that connects the rotary and the entry portal.

• The park has four regulation soccer fields that can be reconfigured for football. Four other fields can work for either baseball or softball. Basketball, horseshoes, tennis and volleyball facilities are also part of the plan.

• Areas are set aside for an amphitheater, community gardens, an arboretum, an open lawn area and BMX track.

There is no designated paintball area, as now exists, but that could change.

• As with the current configuration, the majority of the park is undeveloped. Much of this comprised of wetlands, which will not change.

The network of existing trails will be developed, with three small pavilions installed at various view points. Additionally, trail maps will be posted so hiking through these woods will become a less-random experience.

The plan is ambitious, but realistic, it’s designers say.

Park supporters acknowledge that securing funding will be a difficult task, but feel that available grants can be secured along the way.

For instance, Parks and Recreation Director Chip Faver reported that the county is in line to receive a competitive $500,000 state grant for the park.

In the meantime, Faver continued to feed the fundraising fervor he began at previous meetings.

Everyone present, he said, needs to directly approach county commissioners and state legislators and voice support for funding the park.

“We need to stress the importance of continuing the maintenance and operation budget for the parks,” Faver said. “Everyone needs to carry that message to their representatives and tell all their friends to do the same thing. As it stands, we only get a share of a one percent annual property tax increase to support our parks. And that is not enough.” 

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