Final design for mountain bike park OK’d

The final design for the new mountain bike park at Strawberry Hill on Bainbridge Island was approved by the commissioners at the most recent meeting of the BI Metro Parks & Recreation District.

Construction documents will be developed and the project will be put out to bid. The budget is $360,549.

Trail builder Matt Blossom with designer Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance said that the mountain bike park will be built with progression in mind in a stacked loop system.

Flyover features will be used to help achieve 1.5 miles of trail on 7.5 acres. There will be a skills zone and an advanced skills zone. Other features include a start ramp, drops, roll downs, rock garden, overpasses, skinnies, roller coaster, tabletop jumps and berms.

Safety has been the biggest concern, and trails are intended to be predictable with sightlines, signage and gateway features. Other safety features include fall zones, making difficult features optional, and slowing down traffic at intersections.

Blossom said it will be great for the community—the popularity of the bike park in Port Gamble has surpassed expectations. He said like Port Gamble the one here could have an education program.

Recall attempt

Resident Adam Hunt has filed paperwork with Kitsap County to recall Commissioners Jay Kinney, Tom Swolgaard, Ken DeWitt and Dawn Janow. Kinney said that if the recall was successful there would only be one commissioner, and it takes a quorum of three to pay bills. There would be no payroll, so staff would quit. The Aquatic Center and Bainbridge Island Recreation Center would be locked up, parks would close, and all programs canceled. The county would appoint a new commissioner. Those two commissioners would appoint a third and that process would continue until there are five.

Park district attorney Hayes Gori said the county prosecutor is reviewing the recall petitions, filed because of years of delays in developing Sakai Park. The prosecutor will submit a synopsis of the claims to a Kitsap Superior Court judge. The judge will decide if there is a violation of law, gross negligence or dereliction; not just discretionary actions that people may not agree with. If the judge finds that none of the charges meet the standards it is dismissed. If any charges survive, the charging party must get a certain number of people to sign a petition before it is put on the ballot. Then it is voted on, and the majority prevails.

Earth Day

Community Outreach coordinator Stephanie Bugas said during Earth Month 16 volunteer events were held at six parks with a combined number of 346 volunteer hours saving more than $10,000. The Earth Day Expo had over 30 activity booths hosted by businesses and organizations, three food vendors, sponsors, live music, face painters and more than 1,700 guests, which is twice as many as attended in 2022.

Other news

Park Services Division director Dan Hamlin said that staff has been working hard to keep up with mowing grass. Natural Resources Manager Lydia Roush said the Strawberry Hill Park tree thinning contract has been awarded. Recreation superintendent Bryan Garoutte said the BI Recreation Center pool has opened.

Administrative Division director Amy Swenson said the park district has posted 67 jobs in the last month, most of which are summer jobs. Swolgaard said the park district has been accused of holding board meetings too early and interfering with family time. Park meetings are held at the same time as other agencies on BI.

DeWitt said the new ADA access for the amphitheater at Battle Point Park is great. He then asked about the status of the Fort Ward Parade Grounds playground. Hamlin said the committee still needs to be formed and that staff has the documents ready to submit the permits.

On the agenda

Park documents say also on the agenda was the turf field at Strawberry Field. They say the field would be marked for football, soccer, baseball and softball. Site work would cost $2.436 million; 91,525 square feet of turf would cost almost $731,000; and with other costs the total would be more than $3.535 million.

Also on the agenda was Sakai Park. Documents show the district purchased it in 2015 with a voter-approved $6 million bond. A public involvement campaign showed 10 favored uses of the site.

A thorough study of pool costs took place, and then COVID hit, delaying the process. Since then, many of the amenities desired at the Sakai site have been installed or obtained elsewhere.

Parks received in 2021 a $1 million state to help build active recreation at Sakai. Documents say parks has five years to complete that, which is still its plan. Those elements include: outdoor courts, play area, parking and picnic area. Next steps include staff surveying the community for other priorities.

Staff has already prioritized two tennis courts at Sakai. Battle Point has limited parking and pickleball is the sport of choice there. It would take removal of too many trees to build them at Strawberry Hill, documents say.