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Fish Park swims ahead with changes

POULSBO — Streams that were once entombed in concrete and hidden below the ground will soon be flowing freely on the Fish Park property.

This is just one of the major changes to the area in the name of helping salmon. Last week, members of the Fish Park Steering Committee held part of their meeting at the headwaters of Liberty Bay to view work that has been taking place there recently. What was once a barren field that many truck drivers used as a place to park their rigs, now more closely resembles the park the committee members have dreamed of.

“We really had some visions for this to happen,” commented committee member Tom Nordley, looking over the park land like a proud father.

Doug Palmer and his crews from Stan Palmer Construction are the ones responsible for the recent improvements. Workers and equipment from Palmer were already on the site to construct the Lindvig pedestrian bridge two weeks ago and Paul Dorn, Suquamish Tribe Salmon Recovery Coordinator, said the committee took advantage of their presence to get some other work done.

Palmer said he really enjoyed the most recent effort because he was able to be creative.

“They pretty much just gave us a blank paintbrush to sculpt the land,” he commented. “And the most exciting part is the cost of what is being done is incredibly inexpensive.”

“It’s nice what he’s done without a big set of plans to work off of,” commented steering committee and Marine Science Center Board member Ernie Linger upon seeing the progress.

The work is being paid for by the remaining $80,000 of a $1.4 million Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) grant that also helped fund the Lindvig auto and pedestrian bridges. All expenditures of this money must be approved by the SRFB and must pertain to the intent of the Lindvig Bridge project, which was to enhance the salmon-bearing Dogfish Creek.

The project includes “daylighting” a handful of culverts that were buried by former property owner Weyerhaeuser, creating landscaping that helps treat and release the water flowing across the property and clearing non-native, invasive plants like blackberry bushes.

“We’re trying to bring a bit of nature back to life in the heart of the city,” Dorn explained. “And maybe the more people learn out here, the more they can take back and apply to their own properties.”

In the long term, committee members hope to add a beaver pond, more walking trails and even a community meeting space, which could be used by the Marine Science Center for an interpretive center.

While there’s still a long way to go before the park is completed, Nordley said the committee plans on continuing forward movement through community work-parties. He said he envisions citizens helping pull weeds and maintaining the park, as well as assisting the committee in coming up with a name for the space and possibly helping with the planning.

“We want to get kids and families involved in this to get some community ownership of this park,” Nordley commented.

“We’ll hopefully see folks of all ages and cultures using the park,” Dorn added. “We’re hopefully laying out some general ideas that can be built on by other folks.”

Fish Park is open to the public and Poulsbo Parks and Recreation Director Mary McCluskey said she urges community members to view the work that’s been done. She cautioned, however, that individuals stay clear of any equipment that may be on site.

Sidebox:

Help name ‘Fish Park’

The Fish Park Steering Committee and Poulsbo Parks and Recreation are looking for community member suggestions for a new name for “Fish Park.” Nominations are due March 10 and should be submitted to Parks and Recreation Director Mary McCluskey at parksrec@cityofpoulsbo.com or (360) 779-9898.

The Fish Park Steering Committee will be discussing the nominations at its March 18 meeting.

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