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Norwegian Point Park face-lift gets funds

HANSVILLE — Visions of a new and beautiful park could soon be dancing in Greater Hansville Area residents’ dreams as the necessary funds for a Norwegian Point Park Master Plan were recently secured by Kitsap County.

New North Kitsap Commissioner Steve Bauer announced July 24 the Kitsap County Parks, Recreation and Facilities would provide anywhere between $17,500 and $20,000 to fund the master planning process for the open space.

“My theory is this is a clean slate, a new canvas,” Bauer said. “I don’t think there is any doubt the park will change a lot. Right now there’s only beach, marsh and buildings with a gravel parking lot in between. We’re pretty much in agreement, from what I’ve heard during the meetings I’ve been to, the flat buildings will probably be coming down. I think it will be much more attractive than it is now.”

The process will likely begin with the Saltwater Parks Committee, an offshoot group of the Greater Hansville Area Advisory Committee. SPC chairman Mike Brinton said the first step to the process would be to contract a consultant from outside the county to develop the plan.

“We need a person to do research on the issues,” he said. “With this planning process, there are some complicated issues we’ll have to make decisions on regarding funding. So to be able to inform the public so it can make decisions will take some time.”

The complications arise in the form of several buildings on the park site that either need to be razed or paid for by Kitsap County. The park was purchased by the county in September 2005 with the help of a $1 million stat Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation grant. The remainder of the four-acre property was purchased with $500,000 from the county. The IAC grant, however, prohibits the presence of structures that are not specifically designated for outdoor use. Either the county must demolish the buildings, or repay a portion of the grant to the IAC. Under this scenario, the county would have to find the necessary funding on its own to refurbish the aging structures.

“Personally, I hope it contains options the public can look at and make a decision from,” said GHAAC member Fred Nelson. He noted he’d want viable options including all of the buildings standing, some of them still up and all of them gone. “That’s what I would like to see, is options to consider. There hasn’t really been any decisions on the buildings yet.”

Bauer said Hansville Greenway Association President Ken Shawcroft was the first to propose the master planning process, noting how important it was that the public and county each have a hand in shaping the open space. Brinton said residents will likely be able to see the plan and make their thoughts and concerns known as soon as September, but an official meeting has yet to be scheduled.

“Once it’s through the (Saltwater Parks Committee) and the public process, it will go to the GHAAC for approval,” Nelson said. The plan will then be forwarded to Kitsap County to be implemented after the community has had a chance to give its input on the park.

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