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Community hall pitched for Olhava fields

POULSBO — Six and a half acres of land located in Poulsbo’s College Marketplace is still awaiting a finished boundary line adjustment before it is officially deeded to the city, but there has been no shortage of ideas for what to do with it once the ownership transfer legalities are complete.

And now another hat has been thrown into the ring.

The Poulsbo Noon Lions Club and Raab Foundation hope to present a proposal to the city for a community hall to be built near NW Reliance Street, adjacent to Olympic College.

Parks and Recreation director Mary McCluskey brought the request to the Parks & Recreation commission meeting Monday, where committee members responded with interest, but said more information was needed. McCluskey said the council earmarked $50,000 for the space three years ago, and that money is still ready for use once a plan is decided on. The original purpose for the area was to create public use athletic fields — which would be the first in the city’s ownership. All athletic fields now in Poulsbo are owned by the North Kitsap School District.

“We don’t own any fields. I think it’s important that the city make a stand,” McCluskey said.

In June a private development proposal for a 6,000-seat soccer stadium was brought forward, but McCluskey said the developer is now looking at other properties.

Because the space was initially designated by the city to meet public needs, Lions Club member and Poulsbo City Councilman Mike Regis said it makes for a perfect community hall location.

“We’re hoping that we could building something that would meet a larger community need,” he said. “It’s still a raw piece of ground with potential baseball fields and common area fields, and so we thought what a natural place to place a community hall that would satisfy those recreational needs and at the same time other community needs.”

In their letter to the city, Poulsbo Noon Lions president Jim Stark and Raab Foundation president Roger Sherrard state “... The shared community hall would provide a shelter for the Olhava community and city residents that partake in community events and sports activities. We would like to see the building design include a large meeting area, storage and handicap restrooms along with modest kitchen facilities.”

The letter goes on to say the club and foundation would raise funds and provide manpower for construction. Stark said Wednesday while details still need working out, the club simply wants to step in and help.

“We would like to be part of seeing the thing get off the ground and try to make sure that it happens,” he said.

Though the Lions Club would use the space for their weekly meetings, Regis said the structure would serve many other purposes, especially since 490 dwelling units are planned for the Olhava area.

He said the center could be used for wedding receptions, sports activities, various service organizations, community forums, commercial activities and Olympic College conferences. Though the actual design and site location have yet to be finalized, Regis said the Poulsbo Lions, like many Lions clubs in the state that have taken on similar projects, are more than willing to step up to the plate.

“My club is loaded with contractors, architects and a lot of can do-ism,” he said. “Part of our drive is to provide services to the community.”

Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade said she appreciated the list of ideas and suggestions many have submitted for the area, and hopes whatever happens, the need for the public to receive a great new amenity is filled.

“I love the fact that we have community partners,” she said. “We all want to make sure the public gets use of the field.”

The issue is next scheduled for discussion at the Community Services Committee meeting at 4 p.m. Nov. 14.

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