City seeks input on WSF options | Guest Column | Sept. 17

The City of Bainbridge Island and Washington State Ferries (WSF) are working together to resolve issues regarding the land that was designated for community maritime use at the WSF maintenance yard.

In an effort to move toward a settlement, David Moseley, WSDOT assistant secretary of the Washington State Ferries Division, made the city an offer: WSF will allow the city to lease one-acre at the maintenance yard site for an as yet unspecified term, or as an alternative WSF will provide the city with up to $2 million for an as yet unidentified water-related project.

The city is currently negotiating the specifics of the offer with WSF, which has asked the city to choose one of the two options before the end of the year.

The land in question is part of a larger property the state uses for its Eagle Harbor facility. In 1995, the state agreed to enter into a long-term lease or leases with a minimum of 20 consecutive years, of an approximate one-acre area for “private water-dependent industrial or commercial operations or to the City of Bainbridge Island.”

This has yet to occur. Since then, WSF has been utilizing the property for outdoor storage and an employee parking lot.

With WSF stepping forward to end a long-standing dispute over the use of land adjacent to its ferry maintenance yard, islanders have a chance to envision our waterfront in a new way. The city is seeking your participation and ideas.

The city is interested in receiving letters of interest for use of the one-acre parcel at the WSF maintenance yard. The city is also seeking proposals for other water-related projects that could be completed with the WSF funding amount of up to $2 million.

This is a unique opportunity for the community to participate in the planning for the public use of waterfront land in the heart of our community – our maritime heritage, our future and the waters that we have all been drawn to.

We encourage the community to participate in the public meetings that have been scheduled to explore our options:

Sept. 27 – Discuss proposals for a water-related project that could be completed with $2 million.

Sept. 28 – Discuss proposals for using the one-acre parcel at the ferry maintenance yard.

Each meeting will be held at City Hall, starting at 7 p.m.

Hilary Franz, Debbi Lester and Bob Scales contributed to this column as WSF Ad Hoc Committee members.

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