400 Submit Petition Against Park Closures

Marshall Kelch, manager of Wildcat Lake Grocery, is worried about the impact a proposed closure of Wildcat Lake County Park will have on his store.
“Our business actually doubles in summer,” said Kelch.
That’s due to the hundreds of Kitsap residents who visit the lake daily during summer months. Kelch on Thursday submitted a petition to the county with more than 400 signatures, gathered at the store, in protest of the proposed closure.

Wildcat Lake is now closed for winter, and Kitsap County Parks & Recreation officials say it’s likely they will leave it closed through 2010, along with Horseshoe Lake County Park in South Kitsap, to help balance the park’s department’s budget.

Closing the two parks would save the county $140,000 per year. The department must trim its spending in 2010 by nearly $500,000.

I wrote about the proposed closures on Nov. 4, including a discussion of the possibility of charging fees. I also made a blog post with a poll asking readers what you would be willing to pay in the way of fees.

It certainly wasn’t a scientific poll, and only 12 people took it. But for what it’s worth, the results were:
33.3 percent (4 people) said they’d be willing to pay $5 per carload
16.7 percent (2 people) said they’d pay $5 per person, $3 for students and seniors
16.7 percent (2 people) said they’d pay $25 per year
zero percent would pay $50 per year
33 percent (4 people) said they wouldn’t pay anything

Check the Kitsap Sun tomorrow for a follow-up story on the proposed park closures.

In related recreational news, a survey on a proposal to build a turf field at South Kitsap High School garnered the following results. Again, not scientific. Sixteen people responded.
56 percent (9 votes) said “Yes, the players are at a disadvantage since most other districts have turf.”
44 percent (7 votes) said, “No, muddy conditions are part of the game.”

4 thoughts on “400 Submit Petition Against Park Closures

  1. I wonder if the relationship can be made comparing the percentages of registered voters who actually voted in the recent election and the percentages of readers of the blogs who voted in the polls?

    The County has to balance a budget, that means either cutting back or finding additional income. Neither great choices for some of the public, especially those concerned with their own bottom line. The only other option is for everyone to buy like crazy and increase sales tax revenues.

    The same goes for a turf field in South Kitsap. Voters are budgeting at home by cutting back on extras. Maybe enough graduates of South Kitsap will pony up the money, but do not expect the taxpayer to jump on the band wagon.
    Roger Gay
    South Kitsap

  2. Roger – The Facilities Task Force is operating from the understanding that the school district (and the taxpayers that fund it) won’t be paying for this field. They haven’t figured out how to tap possible donors, but a concerted effort to appeal to SK grads like Willie Bloomquist and Benji Olson as well as others not so famous was discussed. They’ll also likely be applying for grants (which do in truth come from the taxpayers, but the money’s there for whoever steps up).
    Chris Henry, reporter

  3. Many grants come from private foundations that are created and/or supported by private donors, i.e. the Gates Foundation; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Birkenfeld Foundation, etc. You can say that they have all been “taxpayers,” but that may be stretching the definition some.

    It’s an important distinction, otherwise people assume that seeking grants for worthwhile projects is another drain on the system, when in fact this money (like that for scholarships) is placed in foundations to serve these very purposes.

  4. Mary – True – Grants from private foundations are funded at will by donors. I was referring to government grants. I assume the facilities task force will look for grants in both the private and public sector.
    Chris Henry, reporter

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