"City seeks $100,000 grant for bayside land"

"POULSBO - Faced with the possibility of losing 12 acres of potential park land near Dogfish Creek to development, Poulsbo is working every angle it can to raise the $1.04 million needed to buy the property. So far, the city has secured $166,275 for the project and an additional $488,125 in Department of Natural Resources funds will be available this July. Poulsbo's latest venture is an attempt to raise $100,000 through a grant request to the Bullitt Foundation in Seattle. This property is dangerously close to being developed, explained Mary McCluskey, Poulsbo parks and recreation director, who added that the city could make the light industrial site at the head of Liberty Bay into open space which could be used for habitat restoration. Acquiring the mouth of the estuary has been the highest priority to those involved - if the city does not act now, it may not be available later. The property has been in Poulsbo's capital improvement plan since 1994 but its size and price has thus far kept the city from attaining the site. According to the grant proposal, Poulsbo hopes to acquire the land by December. The estuary land, though, is just another piece in the puzzle that is being created to enhance wildlife areas throughout Little Norway. As the importance of shoreline habitat continues to grow and endangered salmon stocks throughout the Puget Sound decline, the city has recently taken huge strides to improve the north fork of Dogfish Creek. In addition to its efforts to purchase the 12 acres, Poulsbo last week unveiled a plan to renovate land nearby at Nelson Park and turn that 11-acre site into an arboretum and a natural classroom of sorts. Next year, the city will proceed with plans to replace a small culvert at the head of Liberty Bay with a bridge. The Lindvig structure will allow for better fish passage to the creek. All of these improvements will make for a viable, valuable, permanent habitat, McCluskey said. Much like plans for Nelson Park, the undeveloped estuary land would house a series of trails, and an educational kiosk which would include a history of Dogfish Creek and Liberty Bay. "

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