Pick a property, make it a park


You have just over a week to nominate properties for purchase by the Bainbridge park district.

Flush with cash from the voter-approved levy lid-lift, the district is slated this year to receive around $800,000 to purchase new properties. The district can leverage or save that money to buy big ticket properties priced beyond the 2009 allotment.

Here’s my story on the Parkland Acquisition Committee’s efforts to gather input from residents. And click here to go directly to the park district’s property nomination form.

Got a call today from Neil Johannsen, who helped develop the park district’s Greening Winslow study and has advocated for new parks in the Winslow area. He plans to nominate about half the properties recommended in the Greening Winslow study. PAC members and park commissioners are also paying close attention to Winslow properties.

Johannsen is especially keen on the 5-acre Cave family property to the north of the Harbor Square complex. Owned by the decedents of a key figure in the Hall Brothers Shipyard’s history, the property includes a century-old house. The rest of the land – which stretches between Cave and Ferncliff avenues – is dominated by meadow, blackberry and several large trees. The Greening Winslow study notes that the property would be an ideal spot for a downtown “central park.”

The property was assessed at $1.9 million just over a year ago. Now the property’s valued at $4.7 million, Johannsen said. He’s scratching his head over the huge leap, but it does nail home the point that the time to preserve parklands is now.

A few other properties identified in the 2007 study include:

Government Way development – Recently sold to a private developer, the former strip of military houses to the west of the Pavilion already includes a park and playground.
Acres: 8
2007 Value: $6 million.

Moritani property – Pictured above. This former strawberry farm is one of the largest remaining largely undeveloped properties downtown. It borders the Shepard Way pedestrian corridor to the north and the Winslow Way road end to the south. Surrounded by trees, the largely open property has an old house in poor repair and several outbuildings.
Acres: 8
2007 value: $1.4 million

Town & Country’s High School Road property – This forested property to the east of Ace Hardware has long been T&C’s possible relocation spot. T&C recently struck a deal with the U.S. Postal Service to relocate the Winslow post office to this property, allowing T&C to expand it’s current Winslow Way store. Park advocates say this would be a good location for trails or active recreation amenities for the north end of Winslow.
Acres: 3.8
2007 value: $1.9 million

Winslow Ravine: This winding, narrow geographic feature will likely never be developed because it contains a protected stream, has steep slopes and is owned by four or more parties. But the ravine, if acquired, could feature a trail and bike path on both of its sides, taking walkers and cyclists from Eagle Harbor to the north end of town.
Acres: 28.5
2007 value: $132,020

You can see the full study on the park district’s website. Click here and then scroll down to “DOCUMENTS & OTHER PUBLIC INFORMATION.” It’s a big, temperamental PDF document, so watch it. It had a tendency to tweak when I skipped around to different pages.

3 thoughts on “Pick a property, make it a park

  1. Parks Department must first and foremost inventory all their property and let that fact be known to the public before any buying binge, irrespective of how much money they have in their pocket.

    Ms. Merril Robison sent along an email to Council and I believe it was a Review or Islander letter to the editor. In her email she made the following statment about the 9 acre tract BITV sits on. By the way BITV, as a direct result of their role in COBI monopoly cable contract with Comcast gets near free use of a $1.5M property and very large studio.

    Ms. Robison said, in part: “Also I hope you are aware of the help COBI got from BITV board members in negotiating the Franchise Agreement with COMCAST after they bought out Northland Cable. Look at the gem of the old Northland Studio and it’s 9 +/- acres of property that is the present BITV Studio that COBI leases for an outrageously low monthly price. And the big gem is the B.I. School District get first chance to buy the site if Comcast ever decides to sell.”

    Rather than have BITV get special treatment — free or near-free rent — COBI Parks should endeavor to obtain the property from TCI/ Comcast through the ability of COBI Schools to purchase the property. In turn the property could be used for many non-profits as well as to add more land to Strawberry Hill Park.

    Parks Department should obtain Comcast property and use it for the greater good of the youth and other non-profits serving the youth.


  2. Reminds me of the famous “have a bitv crime-free day.” BITV property would make an excellent park with that building used to serve the real community. Acid Blotter: YES, YES.

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