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Senate budget includes $3 million for park

But the House recommends just 1/10th of that amount.

A U.S. Senate subcommittee has earmarked $3 million towards acquisition of land for Pritchard Park, an amount that would clinch public purchase of at least the first phase of the proposed 50-acre waterfront park on the south shore of Eagle Harbor.

The question now is how much of that money can survive negotiations with the House of Representatives, which has earmarked only $300,000.

“This comes from a fund called the Coastal Zone Management Fund, and the Senate appropriation to the fund is many times larger than the House appropriation,” said Rep. Jay Inslee (D-1st District), in a telephone interview Friday.

The Senate number for that fund was $30 million, Inslee said, while the House number was $7 million.

“The eventual amount the project gets will largely depend on the total amount the conference committee puts into the budget,” he said. “The good news is that the amounts in the House and the Senate indicate both chambers think highly of the project.”

The immediate goal of a local acquisition committee is $4.6 million, needed by the end of 2004 to acquire the western 18 acres of the proposed park.

That tract contains some 1,500 feet of restored sandy beachfront, and abuts the Taylor Avenue road end, site of a proposed memorial to the island’s Japanese-American citizens who were evacuated from the island at that spot in 1942 and taken to inland internment camps.

The state has committed a total of $1.5 million towards land acquisition, and another $500,000 towards development of the memorial. Kitsap County has pitched in $500,000, and the city’s open-space acquisition group has pledged $500,000 for the project, a total of $2.5 million, to which the federal grant will be added.

Inslee said the budget negotiations will go on during the fall.

“We should know by sometime in early November,” he said. “A lot of the credit goes to senators (Patty) Murray and (Maria) Cantwell, who have been big supporters of this project.”

Property trustee Dan Silver has agreed to sell the property to the Trust for Public Lands for $8 million. The TPL has until the end of 2004 to buy the first phase for $4.6 million, but will do so only if the city is prepared to buy the land from TPL.

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