Letters to the Editor

Update on the park at the Kingston Inn site

In response to queries about the planning for a port park at the old Kingston Inn site, here’s where we’ve come from and where we’re going.

On Sept. 20, 2005, a fast-moving fire destroyed the Kingston Inn.  Fortunately, an off-duty Seattle firefighter was eating dinner there and, with the help of another off-duty firefighter, they got all the people out just before the fire engulfed the building. That took only minutes.

After being vacant for eight years, a donor with a soul for the community put into action what many had just thought about: preserving that extraordinary downtown view of Puget Sound. Through the Kitsap Community Foundation, the lot was purchased to be a port-owned park that preserved views, reflected community priorities, and served families waiting for the ferry.

Park planning kicked off with a community survey on priorities. Places to relax, open space, and a covered area came out on top. Next, equally rated, were a playground, water feature, and public art. Two community workshops collected ideas on how to do this.

There was another survey on our downtown’s best assets and what else we’d like to see there.  Top assets included a small town charm, our waterfront, views, and beaches. Top park-related improvements were a playground, parking, gathering spot, and better beach access. Designs to embody these priorities were posted on the port’s website and comments were collected at a community meeting and from e-mails (which you can still send in.)

All this will be rolled into a final design, which goes out this month to a state grant competition. If we’re successful, park funding should be available next June.

Walt Elliott
Port of Kingston


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