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Big ambitions launched in the North End

The stage was set early in 2010 for a dramatic year in the North End. It began with a spate of announcements.

Port of Kingston Commissioner Pete DeBoer announced in January he would challenge state Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, for her seat. DeBoer launched a vigorous campaign.

Supporters of the Kingston Village Green community center announced their intent to place a metropolitan park district proposal on the Aug. 17 primary ballot. They launched their own campaign, a sweeping signature drive that helped galvanize support for the district. The Board of County Commissioners confirmed the measure’s place on the ballot was confirmed in May.

County Commissioner Steve Bauer rang in the New Year by unveiling a bold land- use proposal. The North Kitsap Legacy Partnership, developed with Olympic Property Group President Jon Rose, would transfer 7,000 acres of private North Kitsap timberland into public parkland, while allowing denser development in Port Gamble. The January announcement was met with excitement by trails and parks boosters, but warily by the neighboring Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.

The Department of Ecology unearthed a long-buried cleanup project in Hansville. Ecology announced in February it was seeking federal money to remove toxins leftover from a former service station on the Hansville general store property. The start date was set for June but was hastily rescheduled for fall following an outcry from the Hansville community, including business owners who said the project would drive away summer visitors.

Late in 2009, Washington State Ferries announced it would not install a reservation system at the Kingston terminal but the agency wasn’t done tinkering with the route. In early 2010, Ferries devised a plan to trim sailings from Kingston’s summer schedule with the hope of making more boats run on time. The proposal outraged many commuters but steamed to approval nonetheless.

Better news for commuters came from the Port of Kingston, which purchased a 149-seat passenger ferry for a Seattle service in February. The arrival of the catamaran Spirit of Kingston was followed in March by the purchase of the single-hull Kingston Express. Port planners worked feverishly through the spring, ironing out the details of the service, set to begin in the fall.

North End businesses were also on the move early in 2010.

American Marine Bank took over the struggling White Horse Golf Club and development in late 2009 but the bank had it’s own financial trouble. American Marine was seized by the federal government and reopened as Columbia Bank in early February. Weeks later, the Suquamish Tribe’s Port Madison Enterprises bought the south Kingston golf course and undeveloped properties to bolster its inventory of attractions.

Change was also afoot in downtown Kingston. A cooperative bakery opened in the vacant Kingston Hotel building in February while the Kingston Art Gallery left State Route 104 in favor of Poulsbo’s front street. The biggest shift came in May when Kingston Lumber left its landmark downtown building and lumbered west to a yard on Bond Road.

Amid the change, Kingston prepared for it’s traditional Fourth of July festival. Fundraising was so lackluster for the event that organizers threatened to cancel the fireworks show. A last minute gift from the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe and its businesses assured the show would go on in July.

See another six months of North End highlights in the Dec. 31 edition of the North Kitsap Herald.

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