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Legislature passes new budget full of ‘green’ benefits

OLYMPIA — The State House of Representatives and Senate passed a capital budget April 24 that included nearly $3 million for projects in the North End. As a whole, $26 million was slated for Kitsap County.

The projects benefitting from the legislature’s passage, which still needs to be signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire, are primarily environmental in nature and specifically fund the development of new trails and open space.

“We worked hard. It was pretty interesting,” said 23rd District Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo). “The session, I think, it went very well for environmental factors and we needed that.”

Funded projects for the North End include:

From the Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation (IAC):

• Hansville Waterfront Park (Forbes Landing): $1 million

• Dogfish Creek Restoration and Development (Poulsbo): $261,492

From the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (an IAC program)

• North Kitsap Heritage Park: $500,000

• Hansville Greenway Phase 2 (Hawks Hole): $639,200

From the Washington State Historical Society:

• Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe — Longhouse/Education Center: $363,579

Appleton said there were also blocks of funding that were passed to support geoduck studies in Hood Canal — $850,000 for a deep water study and $167,000 for three smaller studies to explore what place geoducks have in the ecology of Hood Canal.

Having so many environmental projects receive all this funding in one specific area and at the same time is rare but it needed to be done, Appleton said.

“There were just so many projects in there that were so ecology-based and I feel really good about that,” she said. “You have to wait so long to get money. I like to think it was my hard work and it was in the right place at the right time. Hopefully in about two years we will be looking at this again.”

Hansville Greenway volunteer Ken Shawcroft said funding for both Hawks Hole and Forbes Landing means the county, which is the lead agency in the effort to develop the two properties into parks and open space, can finally move forward. County officials will start negotiations and property appraisals with the owners of the two parcels, Olympic Resource Management (Hawks Hole) and the Razore family of Seattle (Forbes Landing).

The idea is to create a 6-mile pedestrian trail around Hansville — which would include the waterfront property at Forbes Landing, Hawks Hole near the Greenway trails, Buck Lake, Point No Point Park and the lighthouse.

“It will take awhile,” Shawcroft said of building the trails. “The main thing is to get that property set aside.”

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