Opinion

The Poulsbo armory should be kept for community use

When the Poulsbo Armory shutters in Aug. 22, the community stands to lose a precious resource.

The closure, the result of budget cuts handed down by the state, will mean about 45 National Guardsmen have to drive to Seattle to fulfill their citizen soldier responsibilities. While that outcome is certain, the building’s future is not.

The 181st Brigade Support Battalion officially calls the building home, many organization such as the American Legion and the Lions Club also use the facility for meetings and activities. It’s the second half of that equation that local agencies can control.

As per state law, the state-owned building will be offered to the county and city government at fair market value — about $880,000 — first. If neither can scrape together the resources it will be put on the open market. For a government agency to be able to purchase it is a longshot, at best, considering it was a lack of funds that put it up on on the block in the first place.

Local officials have expressed their interest in keeping the building accessible as a community center. Mayor Kathryn Quade has said it will all depend on whomever has the money to purchase the facility.

Whoever purchases it, be it a public or private entity, we can’t help but agree with Quade that it would be ideal for the community’s access to the facility to remain unfettered.

An unrelated item: Kudos to the organizers of the Kingston SK8 Rollick, which went off without a hitch this past weekend. Normally, we’d not pat the backs of our own, but for Dan McDougall and Bill Mickelson — two busy 20-somethings — to organize, host and clean up after dozens of skaters is something to be proud of.

Good job, guys.

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