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Heritage Park construction halts for winter weather

KINGSTON — Orange cones along Miller Bay Road could be the only signs of life of the Heritage Park project until spring 2008, when construction will fire up again. Despite shutting down for the winter, the Kitsap County Facilities, Parks and Recreation department is working to unearth more grants to buy the second half of the open space.

With 450 acres already purchased and the master plan for the public park approved in February, county officials are working to attain the remaining 380 acres. But with the county budget shortfall, money to do so has been hard to come by.

“We’ve been busy,” said Kitsap County Commissioner Steve Bauer. “The budget, from what I’ve seen, just doesn’t have the funds to purchase that piece of land. We haven’t had time to sit down and look at alternate funding yet, either.”

Facilities, Parks and Recreation project manager Brian Lyman said the department is working to gain monetary help through grants to acquire the last bit of acreage from Olympic Property Group. Purchasing the property is still quite a ways out, he and Bauer said, especially with the budget concerns already arising in other areas of the county.

“We have applied for a Youth Athletic Facilities grant via the services of Grant Solutions of Poulsbo,” Lyman said. “We are looking into other development grant opportunities for this park. The acquisition of the adjoining park land is still in the future. This purchase will require additional funding, most likely through grants.”

He said the parks planning department is working on a scope of work for Phase I of the design, which includes the park road. The Seattle-based Berger Partnership has been working with the county to create preliminary drawings for the site. The master plan created for it was approved Feb. 12, and includes sports fields, courts, playgrounds and trails, among other amenities and outdoor activities.

“We are not active right at the moment,” said Berger Partnership principal landscape architect Jonathan Morley. “We are in kind of a holding pattern right now... We have coordinated with the transportation department in the past, and I think what you’re seeing is part of the road project planned for the park.”

Hoping to make some progress on the open space, work on the road and entrance was halted in mid-October after a little over a month of construction because of poor weather conditions. Only a small portion remains to be completed, said Kitsap County Public Works construction manager Jacques Dean.

“We suspended the project for the winter, and we’ll start back up in April or May, whenever the weather gets better,” he said. “We’ll come in and finish grading the road, lay down crushed rock and pave it. There’s really not a lot of work left to do.”

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