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Navy duplexes aren’t that vacant

Former Kingston Navy Housing duplexes have become a place to party. The duplexes are slated for demolition this summer.  - Kelly Joines/Staff Photo
Former Kingston Navy Housing duplexes have become a place to party. The duplexes are slated for demolition this summer.
— image credit: Kelly Joines/Staff Photo

Vandals destroy old Kingston Navy Housing duplexes.

KINGSTON —?While awaiting demolition, the old Kingston Navy Housing duplexes have become targets of massive vandalism.

From party pads to smash bashes, the duplexes look to have seen it all. Broken windows and ripped out screens lie on the ground while most doors are unlocked or open. Light fixtures and walls are punched out and even remnants of a small bonfire remain on a blackened carpet.

There aren’t any “no trespassing signs” to be seen on the vicinity, said concerned neighbor Jack Minert.

The housing complex of six duplexes and one four-stall garage has been vacant for about a year, he said. However, with a mattress, television set, posters, McDonald’s wrappers and empty 40-ounce bottles, it doesn’t seem they were all that vacant.

The 3.6-acre property, which was acquired from the U.S. Navy in 2006, is part of the future Kingston Village Green park.

The site was purchased with a state grant under the agreement it will be used solely for recreational use, said Arvilla Ohlde, project manager for Kitsap County Parks and Recreation, which now owns the property.

“This is vandalism season and it is a huge problem,” said Chip Faver, director of Parks and Rec. “The parks are under attack every day. We are understaffed and vandals are better equipped to vandalize than we are to fight it.”

The property also borders the site of the proposed new Kingston Community Center. “The area elevated up where all the blackberry is located,” Ohlde said.

The community center project has been submitted to congress for appropriation through Senator Cantwell and Representative Inslee.

“The good news is that it is listed as the third-ranked project for funding under a transportation appropriation,” Ohlde said.

Bobbie Moore, president of Kingston Community Center Foundation, first noticed the vandalism touring the facility with state representatives in the beginning of April.

“I just want it to be taken care of,” Moore said. “It is a concern.”

Moore said the Kingston Community Center Foundation has worked closely with the Stewardship for Kingston Village Green, of which Minert is a part.

The demolition for the housing complex is slated for this June. “We want to get the old housing down as soon as possible,” Ohlde said. “The need for a hazardous abatement was needed and it took a while to accomplish.”

The duplexes were painted with lead-based paint and asbestos fibers are contained in the floor tiles — not unlike housing developments built in the same time period, Faver said.

“As long as you don’t disturb it you’re okay,” he said. “We regret this has taken as long as it did but we are doing it right and we would have lost our $150,000 grant from HUD which will fund the demolition if we hadn’t.”

When the demolition does occur, Faver said all the homes will be tented so the asbestos doesn’t penetrate the air.

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