Public shoreline access nearing in Hansville

HANSVILLE — It was just seven months ago that Kitsap County officials approached the Hansville community with the idea to join forces in an effort to purchase 500 acres of available land for parks and open space.

And in true Hansville fashion, residents have worked together to decide what would be best for the community and helped write grants to purchase two parcels, one of which will provide a rarity in Kitsap — public access to Puget Sound waterfront.

Hansvillites are working to acquire the nearly 4-acre property that was home to the former fishing resort Forbes Landing, and Hawks Hole, a 500-acre parcel, which is located just south of the Hansville Greenway Trails.

To help expedite the process, the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners approved an option agreement with Forbes Landing Joint Venture on Sept. 13 to potentially purchase the waterfront property for $1.5 million.

The agreement means owners of Forbes Landing cannot sell the property to other parties during the next six months, giving the county time to complete appraisals and environmental assessments on the land.

“(It’s) background work to make sure we are spending taxpayer money efficiently,” Kitsap County Parks and Recreation planner Joseph Coppo said. “It gives us that time to do that.”

The county has been interested in Forbes Landing for more than a decade. When a 1991 open space bond failed, the county couldn’t purchase the site, which was listed as part of the Hansville Greenway Trails in its early design stages.

“There was big involvement by the community that wanted to get it into public ownership,” Kitsap County Commissioner Chris Endresen said.

The county has applied for a $1 million grant to help purchase Forbes Landing through the state’s Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation (IAC) and was ranked fourth out of 21 projects for possible funding. The county will find out if it gets the money next year after the Legislature approves the state budget.

While the county has set aside some of its own capital budget for acquiring shoreline property for public access, Coppo said grants would help ease the financial strain of such purchases.

As for Hawks Hole, there are 500 acres of land owned by Olympic Resource Management just south of the Hansville Greenway Trails.

Resident Ken Shawcroft, who is leading the effort to acquire Hawks Hole, said the county has applied for a $639,200 grant through IAC as well and the project came back ranked eighth out of 23 projects that were submitted. The outcome of this grant will also be unknown until the state budget is passed next year.

If acquired, Hawks Hole would be the southernmost end of the greenway trails, connecting paths and open space to Hood Canal.

The county and ORM are working with Trust For Public Land, a private land trust group that will help the entities negotiate a deal. The groups are discussing several purchase options, from all 500 acres to 150 acres for a 300-foot-wide trail corridor.

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