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Fund raising begins for Centennial city park

 - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

POULSBO — While nature lovers who take advantage of Poulsbo Parks and Recreation’s latest fund raiser won’t have to leave their homes to enjoy views of the great outdoors, its end result will give them good reason to.

In prelude to the city government’s 100-year celebrations, the department is selling posters to promote Centennial Park on 7th Avenue and Iverson Street.

The Centennial Park and Wildlife poster — which measures 18x24 inches and costs $15 — features wildlife often found in the park, as well as a drawing of the types of plants that grow there. Those wishing to contribute to the cause can purchase the display, which includes a black and white sketch of the area surrounded by numerous colored photographs of the birds, fish and other animals that make the park their home.

“All the money that we make off the posters will go to the park,” said Parks and Recreation director Mary McCluskey. “It was just a great group effort.”

McCluskey said Laurie Larson of the Kingston-based Larson Casteel Landscape Architecture really took the project’s reigns. Larson was hired as a consultant on the project.

During preparations, a poster was created to show the area’s wildlife, and people began to ask her where it could be bought.

“We created something similar to demonstrate the wildlife documented on the property by the previous owners to show that it’s an oasis in the middle of development,” Larson said. “It’s a little patch of green.”

Once it was determined to be a feasible fund-raising tool, several residents pitched in to help.

Larson’s partner, Brad Pugh, created the poster’s center sketch, and Kathryn Owen coordinated with photographers from all over the Northwest who had pictures of the wildlife that make the park their home. The Kitsap Audubon Society paid for the printing of the first 1,000 posters, and Sound Reprographics offered the city a “phenomenal price of production,” Larson said.

“It can be used as an educational tool,” she said. “The plants in the habitat you can actually identify.”

Larson said she hopes the area can be replanted with its native greenery. It now holds grassland, forested and riparian environments. Wildlife found there often include bald eagles, great blue herons, pacific tree frogs, black tail deer and chum salmon.

Named Centennial Park in honor of the community’s founding inhabitants, Larson said she hopes the area surrounded by shopping centers and development will one day provide a leafy patch of refuge to residents who take the time to visit.

“We want to make it a respite type area for business employees and patrons,” she said. “A quiet space.”

Councilman Mike Regis said even though the area was originally purchased by the city for a new city hall location, its purposes are better served as a park.

“Having a park in the center of the urban downtown area is excellent,” he said. “It’s very neat to have it so close to the urban environment.”

Regis said Dogfish Creek, which runs through the park and was once a primary source of water for settlers in the area, creates a geological connection to history.

“The park is named in honor of the early Native Americans and pioneers that were here,” he said. “It’s a fitting representation of that.”

McCluskey said the Parks and Recreation Department will first focus on cleaning up and clearing out the area. Trails and footbridge improvements over the creek are also planned. She said she hopes it can be ready for the city’s centennial year, and wants it to become a place where people running errands in town can stop and relax.

“We hope to have a nice sign and improved parking,” McCluskey said. “It won’t be highly developed. We just want to make it nice.”

The city is currently working on its 2008 budget, and the city council will decide this fall what portion of funds should be given to the park. McCluskey said that amount, along with money raised from poster sales and possible grants, is what they’ll have to work with.

“Between this poster and what the council commits to is what we’ll have for improvements,” she said. “If we sell the 1,000, we could make $15,000. The improvements cost more than that, but it’s a dent.”

The posters will be available at Poulsbo Parks and Recreation, Poulsbo City Hall, Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce, and Liberty Bay Books. For more information call Poulsbo Parks and Recreation at (360) 779-9898, or stop by one of the above-listed sites.

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