Hansville buildings still awaiting fate

HANSVILLE — After vandals damaged several buildings in the downtown Hansville area in March, residents have been debating whether the structures, several of which were part of resorts peppering the area in years past, should be saved or razed.

Now, after Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation officials said three of the cabins and the boat house could land on the historical register if the community so desired, the decision could be made soon if those buildings will be included on the Norwegian Point Park master plan.

“I think the Greater Hansville Area Advisory Committee will ask (Kitsap County Commissioner Chris Endresen) to find the money for the buildings so we can authorize the master plan,” said Hansville resident Steve Bauer, who is leading the charge to save the structures. “Last we heard, she was saying the fate of the buildings is tied to the overall park plan.”

The park, which officially opened to the public March 31, was purchased in September 2005 with the help of a $1 million Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation grant. The county chipped in $500,000 for the four-acre open space. If the community and county officials decide to retain the buildings, the IAC would remove a portion of funding out of the grant as the grant is only for parks and buildings supplementing those areas. Talk in the past has centered around using the boat house for outdoor activities to retain some of the IAC money, and the master plan will likely address those issues.

“We have not reached any decision yet,” Endresen said. “I’m actually trying to figure out how to reach a good decision before I leave office (June 28). We’re trying to get together and have everyone sit down and have a conversation about the pros and cons of keeping the buildings.”

Originally, Bauer said there was a June 30 deadline to make the decision, but the IAC clarified that date is when the IAC’s fiscal year ends, and when it makes decisions on the re-appropriation of funding. The county should be able to receive an extension to make its decision.

“Apparently Chris Endresen has been talking to state people about this,” said Hansville Greenway Association president Ken Shawcroft. The park itself doesn’t have much to do with the greenways, besides being a trail jumping off point and eventually boasting an information kiosk of the area’s pathways. “I like the appearance of them there though. I know three or four are in consideration to stay anyway, the boat house and those three cabins. If we can get a community consensus, I think the rest can go.”

Olympic Property Group president Jon Rose has also entered the talks by making it clear he will help the community preserve the buildings if a decision to keep them comes out of public meetings.

Bauer said he’s not sure if the matter will be decided before Endresen moves on to being U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell’s state director June 28, but he is hoping the master planning process will be solid enough so whoever takes over will be able to easily pick up where she left off.

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