Opinion

Metro park district is the right move for Kingston

Don’t tell Kingston no one is willing to pony up for recreation. They just might prove you wrong.

On July 16, Bobbie Moore and Pat Pearson, representatives from The Village Green Foundation, met with the Herald’s advisory board regarding the metropolitan parks initiative on the Aug. 17 ballot. The initiative, if approved, will create a junior taxing district in Kingston to raise money to pay for the maintenance and upkeep for a community center. Other avenues of funding, such as private and corporate donations and state and federal grants, can be tapped into to build the center, but some would be weary to donate if there’s not a plan to keep the facility useable and safe.

That’s where the Metropolitan Park District steps in.

The district would have taxing power – the proposal is to tax about 15 cents per $1,000 of assessed value of each home in the district – and the money raised would be overseen by a local board of five commissioners. The community gathering place will be built on West Kingston Road and will have an activities space, a permanent home for the North Kitsap Boys and Girls Club and a public library branch.

How long the community center has been a twinkle in Kingston’s eye depends on who you ask. Some say 10 years, some say 30 years. But this is for certain: when the foundation realized that the Kitsap County Parks and Recreation’s budget had been hacked beyond recognition, it took action. Members beat the streets in the frigid January temperatures to gather 1,250 signatures of people who are willing to pay the assessment for the sake of a community center.

And, if it works in Kingston, it just might work in other places, too.

The Herald’s advisory board, made up of citizens representing every nook and cranny of North Kitsap, unanimously approved the idea. The members also are impressed with the amount of work that has already gone into the initiative and are confident that the park district is the right move for Kingston.

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