Category Archives: Parks

Leash ordinance changes will likely be discussed next study session

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Although the Bainbridge Island City Council did not discuss updating the animal ordinance during Tuesday’s meeting, it is expected to be on the council’s next study session agenda.

The proposed changes would require dog owners to leash their dogs in the Winslow and Lynwood Center business areas, as well as city parks. A story in last week’s Islander incorrectly stated the changes would not apply to city-owned parks. The story has been updated online.

The potential ordinance change also would include that the school and park district require dogs to be leashed on their property.

In recent years, the park district has had incidents of off-leash dogs intimidating or injuring people as well as horses.

Under the current city code, dog owners can face up to $1,000 fine for not preventing their dogs from intimidating or injuring pedestrians or cyclists.

Owners failing to keep their dog under voice control or leashed face a citation and up to a $300 fine.

There are no proposed changes to the ordinance’s penalties.

Revisiting waterfront park’s priorities

Participants in a city park visioning meeting walk the Waterfront trail in 2013. Photo by TAD SOOTER / KITSAP SUN
Participants in a city park visioning meeting walk the Waterfront trail in 2013. Photo by TAD SOOTER / KITSAP SUN

Eagle Harbor Waterfront Park and its new dock will be back on the city council agenda after the board rescinded last week’s vote following public outcry on the decision to prioritize the dock.

During the Jan. 6, the council voted 4-2 to phase in park construction as funds are available, because anticipated grant money didn’t come through and left the city $835,000 short on the project.

Council members disputed the original vision of the park priority and some noted the project had been listed as an information only item on last week’s agenda.

Councilman Wayne Roth and Mayor Anne Blair said the motion that passed last week in favor of prioritizing a new dock was also unclear.

Roth, who voted against last week’s motion, said that he isn’t against a new dock and had understood funding for it would be dealt with depending on what grant money was available.

The new dock is estimated to cost a little more than $2 million, and the park improvements about $1 million. Without the grant funds, the city has $2,232,000 for the project, leaving less than $250,000 for the park after paying for the dock.

Sarah Blossom and Steve Bonkowski voted against rescinding the vote Tuesday night.

Bonkowski said he didn’t believe the council was going in the wrong direction by prioritizing the dock, which he views as dangerous.

The city began looking at updating waterfront park last summer to improve the 5.5-acre park space and dock, which is more than 30 years old. Its 20 concrete floats and 23 piles are deteriorating, and also contain toxic creosote.

Along with a new dock, park improvements would include connecting trails to neighborhoods, along with ADA accessible paths and a viewing plaza or vendor area. The current plans call for turning the tennis court into a “multiuse area.”

Bonkowski said he understand previous discussions on the park concept to be for water access and “water access includes a dock.”

The project has been added to the Jan. 20 agenda for discussion and public comment.

A full story will be online with the Kitsap Sun on Wednesday.

Help us rank the top 10 Islander stories of 2014

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The tugboat Pacific Knight helps maneuver the state ferry Tacoma to the Bainbridge Island dock after it lost power while making the 12:20 p.m. sailing from Seattle to Bainbridge on July 29, 2014. MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN

We are asking readers to rank the top Bainbridge Islander stories from this past year in a survey. The top 10 will be posted on this blog.

You can take the survey here.

If you need to refresh your memory on a story,  they are listed below in no particular order with links:

 

House passes memorial site’s proper name, awaiting Senate approval

After working several years to have legislation correct a 2008 law to reflect a name of a memorial chosen by Bainbridge residents, U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, successfully introduced a bill that was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives Wednesday.

The bill – which would ensure the site would be properly recognized as the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial – still needs be approved by the Senate before it can become law.

“We’re so grateful for Congressman Kilmer’s leadership and hard work to get this bill passed, and we are looking forward to working with Senators (Patty) Murray and (Maria) Cantwell to ensure the bill’s passage in the U.S. Senate,” said Clarence Moriwaki, the memorial’s president.

Moments after the bill had unanimously passed the House, Moriwaki said one of Kilmer’s staff members called to tell him the good news.

“It’s very rare for any freshman congressman to prime sponsor a bill that even gets a hearing, let alone make it to the House floor and passed, unanimously – especially in this Congress known mostly for inaction and a climate of strident partisanship,” Moriwaki said. “(This) not only says a great deal about Derek’s ability to bring people together, but think of it: A unanimous vote to honor and remember the 120,000 Japanese-Americans who suffered the unconstitutional exclusion during World War II – a stark contrast to 72 years ago when there was virtually unanimous support for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, which set in motion this sad chapter in American history. Time can indeed be a healing solvent.”

The memorial is located at the former Eagledale ferry dock and is the only national memorial to the internment of Japanese-Americans not located on one of the 10 incarceration sites.

“I am pleased that the House was able to come together and pass legislation to properly recognize the unfair and unjust treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II,” Kilmer said in a news release. “The moving and heartbreaking stories chronicled at the Bainbridge memorial, describing how families were rounded up and forcibly removed from their homes, remind us that we must always be vigilant in fighting prejudice and discrimination.”

Moriwaki said the name change to include “exclusion” was a long process.

“We’ve been working on this name change for several years, first with Congressmen Jay Inslee and Norm Dicks, who both were working hard on ways both legislatively and administratively, to make this happen,” Moriwaki said. “However, at that time the U.S. House of Representatives was not very productive, and then Rep. Insee ran for governor and Rep. Dicks resigned. Plus, Bainbridge Island was redistricted from the 1st to 6th District, so we put the idea on the back burner until the outcome of the 2012 election.”

However, things changed once Kilmer was elected.

“I knew Derek, and shortly after he assumed office we reached out to him and his staff, asking him as out new congressman to pick up where we left off,” Moriwaki said. “Derek was not only excited, he was commendably proud to commit his time and energy to make this happen. Derek’s congressional staff is professional and competent, not only personally meeting with me on my trips back to Washington D.C. to attend the National Parks Conservation Association’s Annual Meetings, but they reached out to me for information, advice and stayed in constant contact and communication in every step of the bill’s progress. Indeed, Derek’s staff personally called me moments after the bill had unanimously passed. ”

Although it would seem adding one word shouldn’t take an act of Congress, Moriwaki said exclusion is “no ordinary word.”

“Officially adding ‘exclusion’ to the name of this beautiful memorial is so vital to completely tell this sad chapter of American history, because not only were 120,000 Japanese-Americans forcibly removed and placed behind barbed wire in American concentration camps, but some people don’t know that everyone with a drop of blood of Japanese ancestry were also forbidden to remain in the exclusion zone,” Moriwaki said. “By adding the word ‘exclusion’ we are remembering and honoring everyone who suffered from this unconstitutional violation of civil liberties, and hopefully inspire everyone to never let fear, hysteria and prejudice deprive anyone of life, liberty and equal protection under the law.”

Below is a link to a YouTube video of Kilmer speaking Monday on the House floor in support of his legislation officially renaming the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial:

Birding on Bloedel: Northern neighbor stays year-round in Northwest

0127_Canada goose by ships 2“A Year of Birding in Bloedel” is a column that runs every Friday in the Bainbridge Islander. The project is planned to continue in 52 parts through 2014 to help readers find and identify birds in the island’s garden sanctuary.  Beginning with this entry on the Canada geese, each column will also be published here on the Bainbridge Conversation blog each Friday. 

The author, Ted Anderson, is a retired professor of biology, having taught at McKendree University (Ill.) for 32 years and for the University of Michigan’s summer biological station for 20 years, where he frequently taught the biology of birds.

Anderson is also the author of “Biology of the Ubiquitous House Sparrow, from Genes to Populations” (2006), and “The Life of David Lack, Father of Evolutionary Ecology” (2013). Ted and his wife Carol have been members of Bloedel Reserve for 7 years. They live in Kingston. 

No one requires an introduction to the Canada goose (Branta canadensis), a common year-round resident of the Pacific Northwest. Anyone who has visited parks around our area lakes or Puget Sound is familiar with the unappreciated “calling cards” these geese leave on lawns and paths close to water. Grazing on grass and other terrestrial plants is their primary means of foraging, although they can also be seen tipping up in shallow water like dabbling ducks to feed on aquatic vegetation. At Bloedel they are frequently found grazing in grassy areas near the Bird Marsh, or on the lawns near the Visitor’s Center.

The Canada goose is common throughout much of North America, breeding as far north as Alaska and the Yukon in Canada, and wintering wherever there is permanent open water. Their spring migration in southern Wisconsin inspired Aldo Leopold to proclaim in A Sand County Almanac, “One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese cleaving the murk of a March thaw, is the spring.”

Biologists have long observed that many widespread species vary in size and/or coloration across their broad geographical range. One way in which they have formally recognized these differences is by the naming of subspecies, within-species groups that differ significantly in size and/or coloration. Most subspecific differences are so subtle that they are recognizable only to specialists. Until very recently, however, scientists considered some of the most northern breeding populations, in which adults are only about half the size of our local Canada Geese, to be easily identified subspecies of the Canada goose. These populations are now recognized as a separate species, named the Cackling goose. A wintering Cackling goose has joined the resident Canada geese at Bloedel this winter.  Look closely at the foraging flocks of geese for an individual that is only half the size of its compatriots.

The Canada Goose has been successfully introduced into England, where many consider it a pest. In fact, they maintain the Canada goose and the gray squirrel (also introduced from the United States) represent our retaliation for their export of the house sparrow and European starling to the United States.

Park district floats new concept for Blakely Harbor

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The park district will present a proposed new vision for Blakely Harbor Park this week.

The public is invited to view and comment on a proposed new concept plan for the park at 6 p.m. Thursday at the district’s Strawberry Hill Park headquarters. More details on the meeting can be found here. An overview is posted below.

Comments can also be sent to Perry Barrett – perry@biparks.org – by Sept. 17. Continue reading

Bainbridge off-leash dog park up for discussion tonight

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As we reported back in May, the park district is interested in leasing 15-acres of city-owned property surrounding the Vincent Road transfer station for an off-leash dog park. It took quite a lot longer than expected for the proposal to make it before the City Council, but the dog park is on the agenda for tonight’s meeting.

The memo attached to the agenda item (PDF here) lays out the history of the site and provides a preliminary design. City staff identified a number of concerns for the council to consider. The proposal is complicated by the fact that a portion of the property rests over a former landfill. The landfill was capped, and the land is safe for surface use, but any park development at the site cannot interfere with environmental remediation efforts.

City staff concluded the plan is feasible but will require “additional attention and research” to carry out.

Larry Steagall, file photo

Bainbridge harbor group seeks support for expanded city dock

Public Dock Final Rendering

Bainbridge Island’s advisory Harbor Commission was busy crafting designs for a new city dock well before the planning workshops for Waterfront Park began last month.

The city held two planning meetings in June to discuss potential upgrades for the park and dock, and is now circulating a survey to gather more input. A 30-minute update on the planning process is scheduled for tonight’s City Council meeting.

Members of the Harbor Commission feel the discussion so far has centered heavily on the park’s uplands. They hope to rekindle interest in rebuilding the aging city dock.

The commission is circulating refined conceptual drawings for an expanded dock. The new dock would feature four fingers with space for more visiting yachts as well as club sailboats, rowing shells and kayak rentals. The plan calls for moving the head of the dock to the west of the existing boat ramp.

Public Dock Plan Drawing 06.01.13 by tsooter

The city designated $1.85 million of a recent Washington State Ferries settlement to upgrading Waterfront Park, and plans to seek additional grants. Many visions for the park were floated during the June workshops, and not every idea will fit in the final project.

In an open letter to the boating community this week, Harbor Commission Chair Mark Leese said he felt boaters were underrepresented in the discussion. He urged more boaters to get involved:  Continue reading

City turns down property adjacent to Waterfront Park

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Waterfront Park will soon get an upgrade, but for now it won’t be getting any larger.

The city recently declined to make an offer on a residence for sale adjacent to the downtown park. The city had a long-standing right of first refusal on the property, which is listed at $428,000.

City Manager Doug Schulze said the potential acquisition was discussed during a City Council executive session. Council members decided the property was too expensive and not necessary for the park, he said.

The 8,000-square-foot lot borders the northeast corner of Waterfront Park.

Waterfront Park planning continues Sunday

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Planning for a revamped Waterfront Park will continue Sunday with a second community workshop. The event runs 1:30-4:30 p.m. at Waterfront Park Community Center. Islanders can join a walking tour of the park and dock at 1 p.m.

The city and Sustainable Bainbridge launched the planning effort with a well attended community meeting June 1. Prolific walkable communities consultant Dan Burden helped guide the conversation. Participants brainstormed ideas for the park and voted on their favorite design elements (you can see the voting results here).

Sunday’s workshop will include presentations from specific user groups. Bainbridge Island Rowing has a proposal for a new boathouse. The city’s advisory Harbor Commission is promoting designs for an expanded city dock.

The city dedicated $1.8 million of a Washington State Ferries settlement to reinvigorating the downtown park and will seek additional grants. A request for qualifications from design firms was recently issued for the project.

 

What do you want at Waterfront Park?

blog.WFpark.picThe city has money to spend on Waterfront Park, thanks to a settlement from Washington State Ferries. Now it’s up to islanders to decide how to spend it.

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The city and Sustainable Bainbridge will host two community meetings in June to discuss renovation plans for the downtown Winslow park. The first meeting is scheduled for 1:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday at Waterfront Park Community Center.

Participants can join a walking tour of the park at 12:30 p.m., before the start of the meeting. The stroll will be led by Dan Burden of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, who is helping facilitate the outreach event.

There are sure to be many visions for the park. The uplands and shoreline are enjoyed by walkers, picnickers, concert-goers, rowers, day sailors, kayakers and visiting boaters, to name just a few regular user groups. The city’s advisory Harbor Commission has already presented a proposal for an expanded city dock.

The Saturday meeting, dubbed “What could it be?”, is intended to be a brainstorming session. The second meeting – “How should we design it?” – is scheduled for June 30.

(Top photo by Meegan Reid)

New dock planned for Hidden Cove Park

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Spring seems to be park project planning season.

The park board approved concept plans for a playground at Schel Chelb Park last week. It also held a public hearing for a project to replace the dock at Hidden Cove Park and make small improvements to the uplands. Comments can be sent to Perry Barrett – perry@biparks.org – through May 28.

The public dock on Port Madison is getting a little long in the tooth, to put it lightly. Popular with kayakers, dog walkers and bored teens, the dock has become rickety and rotted in places. The float also grounds out regularly at low tide, a no-no in the eyes of state permitting agencies.

Here’s a rough synopsis of the two options the district is considering: Continue reading