Village Green nearing its final design

KINGSTON — With visions of trails and open space dancing in their heads, Kingston residents were asked to give their input about the Kingston Village Green Master Plan at a Wednesday evening meeting dedicated to gathering public opinion. Funding options were also discussed with Kitsap County officials, including a $48,000 Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation grant that could change the community center plan if it is accepted.

About 25 residents brainstormed different possibilities for the open space, which Kingston Community Center Foundation president Bobbie Moore said could become the center of Kingston once finished.

“This meeting is to work on updating the concept plan approved in 2001 for the Village Green,” Moore said. “The community center plan has already been decided.”

Most of the discussion centered around how to connect the Village Green to Kola Kole Park via Oregon Avenue, Maine Street or California Street — many residents wanted all options considered as opposed to solely planning for Oregon Avenue. Architect Miles Yanick, of the Bainbridge-based Miles Yanick Company, is working on the Village Green plan as well as the community center project, and is exploring all possibilities.

“Oregon Avenue makes sense because it’s the most direct connection between the two parks,” said landscape architect Robin Hanway. Several residents, Downtown Kingston Association president Nancy Martin among them, were concerned changes to the street could affect current and future businesses in the area, as it is zoned and mixed residential and commercial. “Master planning does mean change. People at the Navy housing are having to deal with that.”

Kitsap County purchased the housing and property, 3.6 acres, from the Navy in December 2005 for $1.75 million, and through a miscommunication the units were filled with residents looking for housing at the beginning of the year. They will have until June 30 to find another place to live, with the help of county officials, and the demolition will start the day after they move, said county Facilities, Parks and Recreation project manager Brian Lyman.

Kitsap County Facilities, Parks and Recreation administrative director Chip Faver was also on hand to address the concern of the IAC grant, which could alter where the community center can be located. IAC is specific on how the property can be used if one of its grants paid for it, for example no buildings can be on the land unless explicitly used for outdoor activities.

The new Kingston Community Center would not qualify, and about 10 percent of it is located on the Navy housing property.

“If we did accept the grant money to acquire the Navy housing, the entire site would have to be outdoor recreation,” Lyman said. “There are exceptions, we could give up a portion of the funding, or all of it.”

Yanick, Hanway, Lyman and Faver said they all came away from the meeting with things to research and consider and will bring their answers and recommendations to the next Village Green meeting May 24.

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