Final NKREC community workshop presents master plan

POULSBO — The dream of a North Kitsap Regional Events Center is now tangible with a proposed final master plan sketch displaying its amenities and the price tags attached.

The plan, presented Feb. 21 during the final NKREC community workshop, must now be discussed and accepted by the partners responsible for funding the master planning process — Kitsap County Commissioners, Kitsap Public Facilities District, City of Poulsbo and the North Kitsap School District. The entities plan to reconvene on the topic April 11.

How the initial expense as well as future maintenance and operation costs will be shouldered has yet to be determined, but the questions have been repeatedly raised.

“All are being explored and we’re all working on addressing them,” said PFD chair and steering committee member Anne Blair. “So far, we’re just beginning the hard conversations.”

“It’s obviously a dream,” said PFD vice president Linda Berry-Maraist. “All this money is not landing on us tomorrow. To be able to build out the bulk of these projects, it’s going to take a lot of partnerships.”

The envisioned NKREC projects total nearly $30 million, however, the complete package is expected to be carried out over a time period of roughly 20 years, which could impact the cost of materials and labor.

Funding for the NKREC is eligible to be drawn partly from an authorized PFD sales tax and used in accordance to the Revised Code of Washington. By its nature, those revenues will accumulate over time and are projected to be between $8 million-$15 million.

At the workshop, master plan designer Stan Lokting of ARC Architects presented a list of priorities — conceptualized by the NKREC steering committee — that were grouped into phases so projects could be reasonably executed.

Topping the list is a $1.1 million phase, which includes installing synthetic turf at the North Kitsap High School’s Viking Stadium field and improving the NKHS tennis courts. Next would tentatively be a $900,000 phase to improve the grass at Strawberry fields 2 and 3 and add lights to Strawberry 1. Third on the list was the creation of a $450,000 parking lot at the North Point Church. The cost and use of would be shared with the NKREC.

“This is just a guess, a snapshot right now,” Lokting said of the priorities list. “Opportunities will come up for funding in different ways.”

For example, if a grant or partnership arises for one particular aspect of the plan that is designated as a lower priority, that project would be moved up in accordance with when the funds would become available, Blair added.

Lower on the priorities list, but both pivotal pieces of the NKREC were phases to enhance the existing community center auditorium and pool as well as build of a 35,000-square-foot multi-use events center.

In the proposed final master plan sketch, the $9 million events center was located to the south of the existing community center. And the community center’s parking lot was subsequently extended south. As a result, the events center project phase calls for moving North Kitsap School District’s existing portables as well as enhancing Poulsbo Junior High’s track and field.

Further down the priorities list are phases which would apply synthetic turf to the baseball fields east of the stadium and Strawberry fields as well as construction of two walking trails that will encompass the entire campus.

“Master planning is a vision and there are many ways to take the steps to get there,” Lokting said in conclusion, adding that a multitude of discussion between stakeholders and governing partners will go into finalization of both the plan and priorities.

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