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New port manager sees big future for marina

KINGSTON — New Port of Kingston manager Mike Bookey has some smaller plans in mind for the Kingston marina, but they could lead to larger conquests later in his career in running the waterfront. After having been at the port office about a month, he is confident his ideas will help improve the downtown area.

The POK has already started putting its master plan into action with the replacement of gas tanks along the border of Mike Wallace Memorial Park, and Bookey said he has developed several ideas from the project that will leave a lasting impression.

“We’re going to rip out the pavement where the fire lane is and put in grass pavers,” he said. “It’s still drivable for the fire trucks, but will make it look much nicer. We’re also going to put in a plaza near the guest dock and the ferry ramp. We’re going to create a plaza and water feature we’re doing on the northern beach. It should be more like a hotel to the visitors than just a marina.”

Bookey said he has been boating for about three decades and was the vice president of system development at Bank of America. He has also worked extensively in the community as a volunteer.

“I think he’ll do very well interacting with all the aspects of the community,” said port commissioner Tom Coultas. “He’s a well-rounded person. He was well suited probably because of the vast background he brings to the port manager position. He has a lot of knowledge and a lot of people skills.”

The port installed two 12,000-gallon fuel tanks in April and May to update its system. The commissioners are also hoping to create a small craft floating boathouse at marina where residents can store kayaks and canoes. Their long-term plans include improving parking and the port itself, as well as expanding the port’s services.

“The other thing I’d like to see is the port becoming more involved in the community through outreach,” Bookey said. “I think we should be involving students through a marine research program with the high school.”

The Kingston waterways are home to different habitats stretching from inland creeks all the way to the waterline, and he said they should be accessible to youth interested in learning. Bookey also said he expected the port to become more economically active in the Kingston community and to work more extensively with the local Port Gamble S’Klallam and Suquamish tribes.

“The fact that he is so respected in the investment and corporate world, and he has been given the tools for the portion of the job that is somewhat new to him,” Coultas said of Bookey succeeding in the position. “The fellow’s eager, and he’s enjoying what he’s doing. As long as your enjoying it, it’s easy to adapt.”

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