MSC still on hold

POULSBO — The doors to the marine science center could swing open again as efforts to bring it back to life continue to gain momentum. However, that day will have to wait until all groups tied to the center get together and discuss its future.

Bight of Poulsbo Founder Bill Austin told the city council’s community services committee Sept. 14 that efforts to open a new center are moving ahead.

“Our new group would like to move into the marine science center as quickly as possible so we can start doing things in there,” Austin said.

The new group, which is formally known as Poulsbo Marine Sciences, Incorporated (PMSI), is in the process of becoming a certified non-profit agency, he told committee members.

Poulsbo attorney Roger Sherrard and accountant John Macdonald are assisting in that process, he explained noting that the Marine Science Society of the Pacific Northwest is no longer an existing entity. According to the Washington Secretary of State’s Web site, the group’s corporate license expired on May 31, 2005.

“Pumps have already been donated and we have $30,000 that has been raised in a period of time that started two and a half months ago,” Austin said.

The group has already enlisted the support of Olympic College, the North Kitsap School District and other community groups, he said.

“Dr. (David) Mitchell offered to be one of our directors and said OC would be part of it,” he explained, noting that Dr. Mitchell is currently president of Olympic College.

Mayor Donna Jean Bruce said before anything can be done with the building, everyone involved needs to understand exactly what can and can’t happen there.

“We need to know what can and can’t be done with that building, because every time I ask, I hear something different,” Bruce told the committee members.

A meeting with all of the interested parties including the bond counsel, Kitsap County officials, city officials and others will be held in a workshop fashion, she said.

“I’m trying to get all the people together on the same date and I’ll see what I can do,” Bruce assured Austin and the committee.

Austin said the group would be ready to move in as soon as the meeting was held and made a special request of the committee.

“We would like to move in rent free until such a time as we can come up with the big money,” he explained.

Councilwoman Kathryn Quade said she didn’t think the council would have a problem with that request unless further review revealed an issue with the proposal.

Councilman Ed Stern agreed but cautioned that “we need to do it right.”

One of the beneficiaries could be the Poulsbo Historical Society, which could share the building with the PMSI.

“We are looking at this as a really great partnership,” PHS member Tom Anderson told the committee.

The historical society could provide visitors a sense of Poulsbo’s marine history in conjunction with the native marine life displays, Anderson said.

“It all ties in and I could see it being tied in seamlessly if it’s done right,” he explained.

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