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Unocal park gets initial approval
The Unocal park project received a thumbs up Wednesday from council, which unanimously approved the volunteer group to begin planning the park.
“This was an unanimous green light to proceed with the public design process,” said Bruce Weiland of the Citizen’s Park Task Force, a group formed to convert the patch of land into a park.
The park won’t cost the city any money and will be financed entirely from private donations. Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park and Recreation District has also agreed to oversee the maintenance and care of the park.
The group wants islanders to offer input as to how the park will look , at least within certain perameters such as size and environment.
After planning is complete, the group will bring the plan before council and the Kitsap Transit Board for further approval. It will be a process over the coming year obtaining approval and permits.
“Our hope is that we will be able to break ground in September and have a ribbon-cutting in October,” Weiland said, adding that the timeframe is a very rough estimate.
The site, which sits at the entrance to the city from the ferry terminal, has been vacant for 20 years after the Unocal oil company shut down operations. The land is now co-owned by the city and Kitsap Transit.
There has been considerable pollution from petroleum-based products from its years of use as a gas station.
Weiland assured council that there should be no risks and that the Department of Ecology had no objection to a park at that location.
According to Weiland, previous work on the land has replaced much of the top- soil, leaving the problems of pollution approximately 12 feet down.
“We’ve said from day one that we are not going to do this unless it is environmentally responsible,” Weiland said.
The group will hold a planning meeting Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Bainbridge Commons. For more information, call Jim Chapel at 206-842-2093.