MSC funding gains momentum in House

POULSBO — Efforts to secure state funding for the now-closed Marine Science Center appear to be gaining support as the abbreviated state legislative session nears its midpoint.

Mayor Kathryn Quade, along with Councilmen Ed Stern and Jim Henry, journeyed to Olympia this week to drum up support for the budget proviso submitted by Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) on the first day of the 2006 legislative session.

“It’s really important that our delegation have face-to-face interaction here,” Appleton said.

City officials had a good meeting with Rep. Helen Sommers (D-Seattle), who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, she said.

“Nine of us are signed onto the proviso and we’re going to make sure everybody knows how important it is,” Appleton said.

With education being one of the priorities during this legislative session, the Marine Science Center proposal fits in nicely, she said.

“It’s an education tool and it creates a hunger in kids for more knowledge,” Appleton said.

Under the proviso sponsored by Appleton, Poulsbo would receive $250,000 from this legislative session to help start up a new marine educational program at the center.

Stern said securing funding for the MSC was his top priority during his annual visit to Olympia.

At the meeting with Rep. Sommers, Stern said the similarities in the reasons for the MSC’s demise and the Seattle monorail’s failure caught Sommers’ interest.

Both failed when private or quasi-public groups pulled out and left government entities blindsided, Stern said.

“(Rep. Sommers) said she would like to see more (representatives) in the House sign on the proposal,” he said, noting that this year’s city lobby differed from those in the past.

Even though Mayor Quade was only able to visit Olympia for part of Wednesday because of other commitments in Poulsbo, her presence had an impact, he said.

“She is articulate and is a powerful statement of community support,” Stern said.

Mayor Quade said she and Stern presented packets on the proposal that included letters of support from the Liberty Bay Foundation, the Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce, residents who had used the building and students who had attended classes there as well.

“I have a very positive feeling about this and I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” Quade said.

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