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Kitsap County seeks ownership of Point No Point lighthouse

HANSVILLE — Kitsap County has applied for ownership of the Point No Point lighthouse, but it will be months before a decision is made.

The U.S. Coast Guard declared the eight-acre Hansville property surplus in October 2009. The federal government is searching for an organization to take over the property at no cost.

Kitsap County already operates a popular park and vacation rental on the lighthouse grounds, and owns adjacent acreage. While the county is the obvious suitor for the land, it was not the only organization to apply. U.S. General Services Administration spokesman Ross Buffington said a California-based organization also applied for the property but was probably not eligible to receive the land. He was unable to supply more details about the applicant before press time Thursday.

Kitsap County has been interested in acquiring the property for years and pounced when the land was declared surplus.

The county filed its application to the federal government last week and North Kitsap County Commissioner Steve Bauer said he hopes a decision will come in a matter of months.

“Some have dragged out for a couple of years, and we want to get it done sooner,” Bauer said. “We can’t risk not having the county own it.”

The Point No Point lighthouse will be transferred through the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, which allows the Coast Guard to surplus unneeded stations while keeping them open to the public. The Coast Guard will maintain a radar tower and navigational equipment at Point No Point.

Visitors won’t notice much change if the park is transferred to the county, though Bauer said the county may be more willing to invest in upkeep of the facilities if it owned the land.

Because its Parks and Recreation department is strapped for cash, the county wants the park to be as financially self-sufficient as possible, Bauer said. The county makes some money from Point No Point Park by renting out the former lighthouse keeper’s house. Half of the two-story duplex is rented to vacationers, the other half serves as the headquarters of the United States Lighthouse Society.

The society has successfully pursued grant money to renovate historical lighthouse buildings on the point (see a related story on page 1).

“That is one of the best partnerships we’ve gotten into,” Bauer said, referring to the Lighthouse Society.

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