Restoring shoreline addresses Strawberry Park's history | Letters | April 30
April 30, 2010 · 11:05 AM
It is important for the community of Bainbridge Island to know that, contrary to public comments by a very small number of island residents, there has been a very thorough public process for the development at Strawberry Park.
It is sad that there continues to be a very inaccurate portrayal of the process the city and the Park District used to plan for the use of this historic site.
The normal and professional process that is used throughout the consulting community and public property community concerning the use of a site that has different group interests involved is the process that has been used for Strawberry Park.
This procedure is to have a public overview (charette) that involves at least one day of group participation to address alternatives.
Different opinion groups participate in the program with several alternatives being assessed and then ranked for the solution that is considered best by a majority of the group. This is the process that was used for what is now being referred to as the John Nelson Memorial Park.
After a decision was made concerning the best alternative there was a public hearing by the Park District and the City Council that included input from professionals, as well as individuals from the community.
The city Planning Department has responded to the requirements of the state and federal governments to provide projects to restore Puget Sound shorelines to habitat that is critically needed for the recovery of the salmon populations of the Sound.
Eagle Harbor is critical habitat for chinook salmon, a species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
The shorelines are used by chinook salmon juveniles that are migrating to the ocean. These young fish need the insects and forage fish in the shallow waters of the harbor. Their presence in harbor has been documented by researchers as they sample aquatic life of the shoreline.
The focus that is most misleading in the public comments that are being presented is the concept that there will not be a proper designation as a historic site for the area. It is beyond my comprehension to understand this logic.
When the shoreline has been restored for the best environmental use, the balance of the site – more than 80 percent of the area – will focus on presenting a facility that addresses the historic use of the site.
There is no real visible portion of the original buildings left at this location. The only remaining portion of the cannery is the destroyed shoreline with large pieces of concrete scattered along the bank.
What better way to honor the uses of the past than to provide a site that has a high-quality function for the future of the environment and also tells the story of past use by the settlers that developed and used the land.