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Potential is ripe for new advisory group

SUQUAMISH — What started as folks sitting around resident Gail Petranek’s dining table discussing local issues Tuesday night is expected to turn into a group that will be able to work seamlessly with the county to ensure Suquamish is a safe and pleasant place to live.

Kitsap County Commissioner Chris Endresen spoke with a group of nearly 30 residents April 4 at Petranek’s home about the logistics of creating a Suquamish Community Advisory Committee.

Similar successful committees have been established in other areas of the county, such as Kingston, in which county commissioner-appointed residents gather once a month to talk about issues and projects in their community, as well as let the county know what the community wants.

Since 1992, there have been several attempts to create such a group in Suquamish, said resident Kevin McDonald, an original member of the first group, however, they never seem to pan out.

Endresen believes such a group will progress this time around. With the structure of having regular meetings at the same time and place every month, plus the recent desire from residents to have the county more involved in the community, she expects the concept to stick around.

“Suquamish has been changing over the years and I think there are more people willing to be active and I’m really excited about it,” she said.

The county will be taking applications from interested residents who want to serve on the committee. Applications will be taken through April 30 and can be obtained by calling Kitsap County volunteer services coordinator Jan Koske at (360) 337-4650 or by email at JKoske@co.kitsap.wa.us.

Endresen expects to appoint 11 people to the SCAC by end of May, which will then establish bylaws, such as if the group wants to expand its number of members and what issues the group wants to focus on. Endresen said she encourages having a variety residents on the board, including representatives of church groups, garden clubs and active organizations.

“I think the most successful thing for a community council is there is representation from a broad base of the community,” she said, noting that Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman has expressed interest in having a tribal representative be a part of the SCAC.

The idea for the community council came from the group of residents that helped the county update the Suquamish Rural Village Subarea Plan in 2004 and 2005. Following last fall’s adoption of the updated plan, members of this working group have been moving forward, trying to generate energy to establish the SCAC, while also continuing discussions on issues that were raised during the subarea plan workshops, such as crime and pedestrian and traffic safety. Members of the group plan to meet at 6:30 p.m. April 20 at Suquamish Elementary School library to discuss the crime rate in the area.

The group also wants to include the ideas and concepts generated during the Imagine Suquamish workshop that took place in 2004, when residents gathered to discuss what they want Suquamish to look like in time.

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