County ups the ante for Pritchard Park

Commissioners kick in another $350K toward the $8 million deal.

The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners on Monday approved a $350,000 allocation for the next phase of the Joel Pritchard Park project on Bainbridge Island, increasing the total county investment to $850,000.

The money came from conservation future funds and grant money specifically earmarked for land purchase.

North Kitsap commissioner Chris Endresen lauded the move, saying, “The only way we can accomplish these things is through partnerships.”

South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel, who voted for the previously allocated $500,000, did not support the resolution.

“I do not think there is enough mutual benefit to all the citizens of Kitsap County,” Angel said. “I’m not sure that people in South or Central Kitsap will travel all the way up through Bainbridge to make use of a regional park.”

Central Kitsap commissioner Patty Lent disagreed, casting the deciding vote in the resolution’s favor.

“Tourism begins at the ferry terminal,” Lent said. “Bainbridge Island represents one-fifth of Kitsap County, and makes a significant contribution through tax dollars. So it is well worth this investment.”

Bainbridge city and park officials and private groups have been raising funds to complete the purchase of the 50-acre property on the south side of Eagle Harbor, formerly the site of a creosote wood treatment facility.

The city has already acquired the western 22.5 acres of the Wyckoff property, opening up an expansive beach on the harbor’s south shore.

Backers face a Dec. 31 deadline to purchase the eastern 27.5 acres – including the “point,” the site of an ongoing cleanup under the federal Superfund program. With the financial support from the county, about $220,000 more must be raised to complete the purchase, based on a new appraisal.

The Bainbridge Island Land Trust is soliciting private donations.

Perry Barrett, senior planner for the Bainbridge Island Park and Recreation District, said he was very happy with the financial and political support from Kitsap County.

Barrett updated commissioners about plans for the park and its impact on local recreation and tourism. He suggested the construction of a Suquamish-style longhouse on the beach, which would be the first thing people would see when approaching on the ferry.

The park would be named for the late Joel Pritchard, an islander, Republican legislator and Washington lieutenant governor.The site will include a memorial to Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II.

Barrett said the park will have a dual purpose, making a positive statement in both social and ecological areas.

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