Citizens Park Task Force presents gateway park plan to city council

The initial design for the park on the corner of State Route 305 and Winslow Way. Olympic Drive leading to the ferry is on the right. Winslow Way is above. - Citizen Park Task Force photo
The initial design for the park on the corner of State Route 305 and Winslow Way. Olympic Drive leading to the ferry is on the right. Winslow Way is above.
— image credit: Citizen Park Task Force photo

After months of preparation, the Citizens Park Task Force brought the city a plan for their desired park at the gateway to Bainbridge Island.

Though council members liked what they saw, they opted to wait one week to consider a letter received Wednesday from Kitsap Transit, co-owners of the property, before giving the park group a thumbs-up.

“I would like to bring this back next week instead of voting on it today,” said Councilwoman Debbi Lester.

“We look forward to approving this next week,” she added.

Councilman Bob Scales was concerned about the letter, specifically about a portion that addressed not digging three feet into the ground.

Representatives from the Citizens Park Task Force said excavation on the polluted property was not a part of the plan.

“We are basically going to mound up with dirt, and not go down,” said architect Johnpaul Jones, who drafted the design presented to the council.

Jones noted that there may be a couple items on the site that may require a small foundation, but nothing that would penetrate the earth to a depth of three feet.

The public property is located at the corner of Highway 305 and Winslow Way. The gateway project is expected to include elements that will be used by islanders and tourists alike. One idea includes a directional guide to steer visitors to popular destinations.

But such ideas are just that at the moment, ideas. The group does know what the park will look like, however.

It will have a single, paved trail cutting through the property that will be lined with native plants; grasses, shrubs and flowers.

At the north end of the trail, facing downtown, will be a large circular open space for people to meet and gather. A rock wall will line the back end of the property.

The group would also like to include a water fountain and solar-powered trash compacting waste bins.

The project would complement improvements in the downtown area, supporters said.

“Let’s just use what you’ve started already in Winslow and pull it up into this corner,” Jones said.

At one end will be a sign for the park greeting people to the island, or simply stating “Thanks for stopping by” on their way out.

“That grand pathway is going to be so inviting,” said Bruce Weiland of the Citizens Park Task Force.

“I think it’s going to be a huge plus for the island.”

The design is the result of the park group’s meetings with community members.

Jones designed the park after hearing the public’s ideas, presenting park options back to the community, and further designing the park after receiving additional feedback.

“It’s a very simple, straightforward, fun place that welcomes our visitors and welcomes home people like me when we come from the big city,” Jones said.

The park group also planned to present the design plan to the Bainbridge Island Metro Parks & Recreation District Thursday.

The parks district has agreed to oversee the maintenance of the park once it is constructed.

The task force still has to bring the design to the site’s co-owners, Kitsap Transit, for its approval as well.

Should all parties be on board, the group will pursue the appropriate permits to construct the park.

Volunteers hope to break ground in the summer and complete the park in the fall.

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