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City agrees to buy scenic Wyckoff beach

The city exercises a $4.9 million purchase option on the former Wyckoff property.

By this time next year, islanders will be free to enjoy a new public beach on the south side of Eagle Harbor.

The Bainbridge Island City Council this week authorized the mayor to exercise a purchase option for some 22 acres of the former Wyckoff property at Bill Point, at a cost of $4.9 million.

The purchase – which includes about one-third of a mile of sandy beachfront and the wooded hillside above, east of the Taylor Avenue road end and generally north of Eagle Harbor Drive – will close in December. But if folks happen to take a stroll there in the meantime, nobody is likely to complain.

“Next year, we’ll have a really nice waterfront park,” said Councilwoman Christine Rolfes, who serves on a task force spearheading the purchase. “Really, the beach is open to the public right now, because the property owner has said he would allow visitation. But we can’t abuse it.”

The deal moves the city significantly closer to creation of the planned Joel Pritchard Park and the Japanese-American “Nidoto Nai Yoni” memorial.

It includes the site of a proposed memorial to the departure of Japanese American internees in 1942. Several hundred island residents left for internment camps in California from the former Eagledale Dock, which stood at the end of Taylor Avenue.

Funding sources for the purchase authhorized this week include:

• Federal grants, $1.98 million;

• State grants, $1.48 million;

• City open space funds, $500,000;

• Kitsp County open space funds, $500,000;

• Private funds, $440,000.

The property was formerly owned by Wyckoff/Pacific Sound Resources, a now -defunct concern that ran a cresote wood-treating operation there for most of the last century.

The operation left much of the property badly polluted; the point at the harbor’s mouth is still undergoing a cleanup by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Superfund program.

The property is now held by an environmental trust, with proceeds from the sale going to pay for the cleanup.

With nearly half the property secured, the city next hopes to purchase the remaining land, about 28 acres, in the near future; another $3.1 million in private donations is sought to that end.

A fund drive is ongoing by the Trust for Public Land and the Bainbridge Island Land Trust.

Development of the internment memorial is expected to cost another $4 million after purchase.

“We’re on our way, but we’re not there yet,” Rolfes said.

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