Navy to divest its housing in Kingston

KINGSTON — When it was announced in November that the U.S. Navy was planning to divest its housing unit on West Kingston Road, Kitsap County officials and residents jumped at the chance to see how the 3.6-acre site could become a part of the community’s proposed Village Green.

“We were waiting for that piece of property for years,” Kingston Citizens Advisory Committee member Annie Humiston said when she heard the news.

Village Green is a county parks concept that would consist of Kola Kole Park, the property where the soon-to-be-deactivated wastewater treatment plant is located and possibly, the Navy property. The idea is to create a gathering area that would include a new community center and parks facilities.

Floyd Bayless, project manager for the new Kingston Wastewater Treatment Plant, said public restrooms have already been constructed at the old plant site for purposes of serving Village Green.

Now that the new treatment plant is almost complete and the old plant site will be cleared next year, plans for Village Green can move forward and the recent news from the Navy may make planning easier.

Kitsap County Commissioner Chris Endresen, members of the Kingston Citizens Advisory Committee, Kingston Community Center Foundation and others have been brainstorming for the past month and a half on various ways to acquire the parcel. Ideas have included researching funding through partnerships, such as with Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority, and what facilities could be built at the site.

The property is zoned neighborhood commercial, meaning it could have a mix of residences, public facilities and small stores. Ideas include constructing a new community center, senior housing and county offices.

Endresen said the county has been talking with the Navy for years about the future of this parcel.

“We, as in the county and Kingston, have always wanted that property for the Village Green park,” Endresen said.

Now it seems as though it may be an option.

The Navy and its private partner in the housing property venture, Dallas-based American Eagle Communities, are still working out the particulars as to what it will do with the 12-unit complex and how soon, Endresen said. Officials with the two agencies have said the Navy is divesting some of its housing property in the Northwest primarily to move families closer to the bases so they can take advantage of the Navy’s services as well as help pay for renovations or construction of new Navy housing.

While Navy and AEC officials are aware of county’s interest in the parcel, the county is continuing to research funding possibilities.

“Our position is that (the) property is really important to the citizens of Kingston,” Endresen said.

“There is excitement being generated about this because for the first time there is a possibly of a replacement community center and Village Green,” added resident Bobbie Moore, who is also a member of the Kingston Parks, Trails and Open Space group and a trustee for the Kingston Community Center Foundation. “This looks like this might be a real opportunity.”

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