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Village Green, Heritage Park to work this year

KINGSTON — It’s expected to be a year of progress for parks in the North End, as the Village Green and North Kitsap Heritage Park will be receiving particular attention from the county.

A committee to help the county develop and determine funding sources for the Kingston Village Green is being formed, Kitsap County Facilities, Parks and Recreation director Mark Mauren told the Kingston Citizens Advisory Council April 5 during its monthly meeting.

The county’s recent purchase of the Navy property on West Kingston Road pushes it further toward making the long-awaited public open space project a reality.

“They knew we wanted it bad, they knew the community wanted it bad,” Mauren said about working with the Navy, Pacific Northwest Communities and American Eagle Communities LLC to sell the property to the county.

The property cost $1.75 million but the county is working to reduce its out-of-pocket expense with grants. The federal government recently issued a $150,000 award to be put toward the expenditure and the county plans to apply for a grant from the Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation. When it comes to developing the property, the county will look to form partnerships with other agencies and groups, Mauren said.

“It forces us to be creative,” he said.

On a larger scale, with the progress of the North Kitsap Heritage Park, the county expects to hold an open house at the Kingston Community Center in the beginning of May to review design plans with hopes of breaking ground this fall, Mauren said.

KCAC members were also updated on the county’s open space plan, which the county is developing based on an inventory of all the existing parks and recreation facilities, both within the county and the cities. The plan is expected to determine what improvements are required to meet the needs of the various uses.

Residents from the North End seemed to have provided quite a bit of input, Mauren said, as North End addresses made up for the high return of the open space surveys that the county sent out at the beginning of the process.

Aside from the surveys, the county also met with leaders from the cities’ parks departments and different recreational groups to get a good idea of what facilities already exist and what needs to be added.

Better public water access was a top priority, such as installing the boat launch at Point No Point in Hansville. Other priorities included adding more non-motorized trails and more open fields.

“This is probably the one thing we’re short of in the county,” Mauren said of fields.

Lack of fields specifically for sports was another area of concern.

“This was the biggest issue probably in the North End,” Mauren said.

Residents will have a chance to comment on the plan at a public hearing at 7 p.m. April 19 at the Eagles Nest at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds. More information about the plan can be found at www.kitsapgov.com/parks/.

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