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Kitsap County accepting ideas for a regional park

INDIANOLA — There hasn’t been much opposition to the amenities the Kitsap County Facilities, Parks and Recreation staff has been proposing for the North Kitsap Heritage Park, but there is one issue that keeps coming up — the proposed east-west connector road slated to go through the 450-acre park.

At a public workshop March 16 in Indianola, county parks planner Joseph Coppo and landscape architect Jonathan Morley, of the Seattle landscape architecture firm The Berger Partnership, presented several conceptual park plans.

During the course of the past few months, the county and firm have been evaluating various facets of the property, including the types of soils, slopes, wetlands, vegetation and wildlife that currently exist and what types of amenities the property would best accommodate.

The primary goal is to establish a park that can be used year-round and meet the needs of various recreational purposes, accommodating a significant athletic complex while helping preserve open space. Conceptual drawings show plans for multi-use facilities, such as fields for soccer and rugby and baseball diamonds, with artificial turf and lighted areas. Planners are also looking into facilities that meet the needs of other sports, including frisbee golf, and large trail networks for both equestrians and hikers. There is also an area that has potential to be a natural outdoor amphitheater, Morley said.

So far, the county has determined the primary entrance to the park will be accessed from Miller Bay Road, through a 19.7-acre parcel that was purchased from a private property owner last year.

“It really speaks for itself what you can do here,” Coppo said.

However, a major concern of the evening was the development of the east-west connector road that is scheduled to go through the park.

The concept to help connect Miller Bay and South Kingston roads as the county grows, especially with the proposed White Horse and Arborwood housing developments that are nearby has been on the county’s books for years, said Kitsap County Commissioner Chris Endresen.

“In 20-30 years, there is going to have to be an east-west connector road,” Endresen said, noting that the idea is to develop it now rather than have to create a road through the middle of the park in three decades.

While Endresen didn’t like the connector road idea initially, she said, “You know development is coming and you have to look at the area.”

The road will serve as a way to access different parts of the park, while having as little impact as possible on its character, Morley said. It will not be developed as a speedway for those looking go from Miller Bay Road to South Kingston Road as quickly as possible, he added.

Two ideas are being reviewed as plans for possible roadways — one is to have it gently wind through the park; the other is to have it go straight through the middle of the property. The latter could help define each side of the park, in essence dividing the active use area on the west from the more passive use area to the east, Morley said.

“The road can help us keep the integrity of each side,” he added.

Another idea is to plant trees on both sides of the road, so in 50-100 years, there would be a sense of an arboretum within the park.

If the public works department builds the road, it will come out of that project’s budget, not the parks budget, so there would be more money for field development and other amenities, said parks director Mark Mauren.

The next public workshop is set for May 1 at Kingston Community Center. The plan will be presented later this year to the county’s Park and Recreation Advisory Board and then the Board of Commissioners for approval, with anticipated groundbreaking for the entrance to the park Oct. 1, with field construction beginning in 2007.

Residents can submit their ideas and concerns to Coppo by calling (360) 307-4222 or jcoppo@co.kitsap.wa.us.

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