BI council OKs contracts for police-court facility

Progress is continuing on turning the old Harrison Medical Center into a police-court facility on Bainbridge Island, but some city residents are still battling against it.

At the City Council meeting last week, the city leaders authorized city manager Blair King to enter into three contracts related to the facility at 8804 Madison Ave. N. The city will enter into a contract with Clark Construction, the lowest bidder, as well as contracts with Coates Design, the architect of record, and Parametrix, which will serve as the owner’s representative during project construction.

Combined with past spending, total cost is within the currently approved budget of $20 million. The construction bid with Clark Construction at $7.6 million was approximately 11% less than the engineer’s estimate. The city purchased the facility in 2020. The Municipal Court and police department will move from their current locations. The project is expected to be complete in early 2024.

Meanwhile, some local groups are still fighting it.

A group calling itself Bainbridge Taxpayers Unite has filed a tort claim against the city, and also a Notice to Cease and Desist.

It alleges conflict of interest and state law violations. It says their actions will nullify the contracts just signed by the city.

Also, citizen Fred McGinnis is working with fire commissioners to transfer land to the city. Years ago, that land was suggested as a possible site for the police station-court facility.

“This constitutes a game-changer and would put COBI in an awkward position if they refuse to utilize the parcel for the new police station/courthouse,” he says in an email, adding the city could become guilty of malfeasance for misuse of public funds.

McGinnis lists a variety of reasons why the fire station site is better than the old Harrison Medical Center. And he says preserving the center for its intended use would “have a near perfect triad of essential services available to cope with an islandwide emergency.”

Regarding the city bonds the council took out, he said it would still retain its tax-exempt status if used for another government project.

At the same meeting, the council accepted a donation of $50,000 from the BI Parks Foundation and a potential donation of $25,000 from the BI Metropolitan Park and Recreation District, and also approved a budget increase of $215,000. The funds, together with city funding, will support a partnership to develop a long-range plan for the Sound to Olympics Trail, as well as a preliminary, 30%-level design for the next northbound segment of the trail between the Sakai Pond Trail and Madison Avenue.

The STO is envisioned as a regional trail system that will connect the Bainbridge Ferry Terminal with the Olympic Peninsula. It is part of the Great American Rail-Trail route, linking the Seattle Waterfront Pathway to the east with the Olympic Discovery Trail to the west. On BI, the trail will generally follow the Highway 305 right-of-way for the seven miles from the ferry terminal to the Agate Pass Bridge.

Also, BI is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2025. The new Climate Smart Challenge is a fun way to identify key actions you and your family can take to help. The Challenge encourages you to think critically about your life and changes you can make (some small, some big) to reduce your climate impact, save money and improve your health and the comfort of your home. Learn more by visiting the city’s website