Tag Archives: Parks

New dock planned for Hidden Cove Park


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

Islanders celebrate Hilltop project; fundraising continues


The Bainbridge park district took advantage of the sunshine Wednesday to celebrate the opening of Hilltop trail and park. The trail, which links east and west portions of Grand Forest, has been enjoyed by hikers since winter. The park district also renovated a house on the property for classroom and event space.

“This has been a dream for us for a long time,” park board Chair Tom Swolgaard said of the Grand Forest trail connection.

Bainbridge Island Land Trust reminded attendees that fundraising for the project continues. The Land Trust agreed to purchase 36 acres in the Hilltop area for $3.6 million. Eight acres were obtained by the park district for the trail and classroom space. The Land Trust has $360,000 left to raise.

“A lot of people think we’re done and are out there enjoying it,” Land Trust Executive Director Hallie Stevens said last week. “We want to let them know there is still work left to do.”

Here’s a map of the Hilltop trail, courtesy the Land Trust:

Hilltop Trail Map by tsooter

Septic work underway at Fay Bainbridge; trailer dump closing



A long-awaited septic upgrade is underway at Fay Bainbridge Park this week. The $57,000 project will replace the park’s old and fragmented septic systems with a single system less prone to flooding.

Two new drain fields have been dug into the berm above the beach and will serve all the buildings in the park.

The park remains open, though it may be closed to vehicle traffic intermittently during the project.

The park district is shutting down its trailer dump service at the park because the new septic system is not designed to handle chemicals from recreational vehicles. The district recommends RV campers use other Kitsap dump facilities including nearby Eagle Tree RV Park in Poulsbo.

Fay Bainbridge was once in line for a much grander and wastewater treatment plant while it was still a state park. Those plans never materialized. The contract for the new septic system was awarded to Northwest Cascade Inc. last month.

For more information, contact Mike Mejia at (206) 842-3931 or mike@biparks.org. The district is also seeking input from Fay Bainbridge users with a beach ecology survey.



Bainbridge launches interactive mapping system

The city recently unveiled a new online mapping system that allows users to view several layers of customized data.

Accessible on the city’s website, the interactive system allows you to see property lines, zoning, environmentally sensitive areas, publicly-owned properties, topography and plenty more.

See my story HERE.

And check out the map over HERE.

It takes a bit of getting used to, and there are some odd rules to follow to avoid confusion. For example, if you want to see park data, make sure you select “Bainbridge Island Background,” “Parcels” and then click on the “+” sign under “Parks.” The “+” will allow you to see a drop-down menu with few categories you can select. Also, you must zoom in a bit. Too wide of a view will show only certain kinds of data. Another thing: certain browsers seem to be having trouble with the mapping system. If you have problems, head over to the help menu on the right side of the screen.

There’s actually quite a bit of information in the system, so taking the time to get familiar with how it works is definitely worth it.

The city says the system you see today is only the beginning. Several upgrades are in the works.

Kitsap Sun environmental reporter Chris Dunagan discussed the mapping system on his blog, Watching Our Waterways. Read his take HERE.

First levy-backed park purchase may make the Grand Forest grander

I got word this weekend that the Bainbridge Parkland Acquisition Committee has finally settled on a property.

The committee, which was tasked with deciding how to spend the park district’s new levy-backed property acquisition fund, has recommended the purchase of a large parcel that would connect the two largest Grand Forest Park properties.

The 31-acre property, referred to as the Hill Top Tree Farm, stretches between the Grand Forest’s east and west sections, and includes forest, trails and a 7-acre meadow with views of the Olympic Mountains. It also includes an unoccupied cottage and a large barn.

The park district would use $500,000 in levy funds to match a $500,000 state grant. The combined $1 million would help the Bainbridge Island Land Trust make the full $2.75 million purchase.

BILT plans to turn over all or most of the land to the park district.

The property’s meadow could be used for an off-leash dog park, community gardens or open play areas, according to committee members.

I’ll have more on this later.

Community gardens bloom on Bainbridge

Dawn Snider digs in at the Johnson Farm community garden
Dawn Snider digs in at the Johnson Farm community garden

Below is a sneak peak of my story about Bainbridge Island’s community garden boom. Check the Sun on Monday for some additional photos and information….

Dawn Snider is hoping to deepen the shade of her faded green thumb.

It’s been almost three decades since she’s had a garden, but she can still remember the taste of backyard tomatoes, squash and herbs.

“It’s been a while, but I’m a gardener at heart,” the Minnesota native said as she and her partner Bruce White spread a load of rich, black soil into a small plot at the Johnson Farm community garden.

After a long stint living in the high desert of New Mexico, Snider and White recently moved to Bainbridge looking for an oasis of green.

The only problem was that their small patch of Bainbridge was crowded by concrete.

“We’re living in a townhouse in Winslow, with no yard and no room to garden,” she said.

Snider and White were ready to be caught up in a sudden burst of grassroots organizing to create community gardens on Bainbridge. Over the last few months, neighborhood and small-group gardens have taken shape on city-owned farmland, a low-income apartment complex and a half dozen private properties.

A gathering on March 2 provided the spark. Organized by a loose coalition of gardening groups and local food enthusiasts, the meeting didn’t have a specific aim, but it packed Bainbridge Commons with over 110 people.

“I was totally blown away by the response,” said Debbi Lester, one of the meeting’s organizers. Before meeting ended, attendees had already begun networking, assigning tasks and setting work dates for several of the gardens now underway.

The meeting, Lester said, tapped into a zeitgeist born out of souring economy, an increasingly urbanized downtown and a growing desire to eat healthy, locally-grown food.

Nationwide, more people are planting seeds for better food and bigger savings. The National Gardening Association reports that over 40 million American households will grow their own food this year. That’s a nearly 20 percent increase over last year.

Straddling the fence between suburban and rural, the island has plenty of spacious properties boasting sizable gardens. But many of the island’s most recent residents came to Bainbridge amid the condo boom of 2005 and 2006, when 330 units were built in Winslow.

With no space to enjoy one of the island’s most popular pastimes, condo dwellers were disappointed to find that the only two community gardens were either hard to get to or hard to get into; the garden at Battle Point Park is five miles from Winlsow and the downtown garden at Eagle Harbor Congregational Church often has a three-year wait list.

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Grinter: Put the breaks on state parks tranfer plan

Bainbridge trails advocate John Grinter writes that Bainbridge needs to slow down and reassess plans to take on two state parks slated for closure. Grinter is the vice chair of the city’s Non-Motorized Transportation Advisory Committee and was a lead community organizer for the 2004 petition drive to create the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park District. Below is Grinter’s letter.

I am a strong supporter of Bainbridge parks and I believe our local park board is moving too quickly to bail out the state park system with the transfer of both Fay Bainbridge and Fort Ward state parks.

I don’t believe careful consideration has been given to the long-term impact on other well-planned community goals. The local (park) board is talking about making a permanent financial commitment of millions when they should be talking about helping the state in a short term, interim manner while we weather this economic crisis. Perhaps most troubling of all is the speed at which it is happening and the nearly complete lack of public process regarding the transfer.

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Closing state parks raises big questions on Bainbridge

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s cost-cutting plan to close Fay Bainbridge and Fort Ward state parks came as a surprise to many island residents and public officials.

It also raised some big questions: Will the land be sold to developers? What about the planned sewer system connecting to Point Monroe? Is the Bainbridge park district or city or even the county willing to absorb and manage the large waterfront parks? Why does Bainbridge have to suffer the loss of two of the 13 parks slated for closure?

For now, there’s more questions than answers.

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Island road ends in need of volunteer stewards

Bainbridge Island has over 70 public road ends, yet only a few allow residents to enjoy the view or walk to the water’s edge.

“This is an island but we have little access to the water to enjoy the peace, the birds and a quiet walk,” said city Road End Advisory Committee member Marci Burkel.

Most road ends are blocked by ever-thickening brush and blackberry brambles. Some have old stairwells that are crumbling into the beaches below. Others simply have no sign letting people know their neighborhood boasts a public access to Puget Sound.

But if a few islanders roll up their sleeves, Burkel said, road ends can again do what they were intended: link islanders to the water that surrounds them.

The committee has created a new stewardship program aimed at pairing residents with neighborhood road ends. The volunteer program is recruiting people to make regular stops at designated road ends to monitor the condition of the site, noting man-made alterations and natural alterations, such as dumped trash or eroded banks.

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Help decide how the park district spends its open space dollars

After a sigh of relief that their levy passed, the Bainbridge park district is now rounding up residents interested in serving on a new committee that will guide the spending of almost $1 million a year for open space preservation.

The committee will operate much like the city’s Open Space Commission, which sought out and recommended properties for purchase.

If you haven’t read it already, check out the story I wrote last week on city and park efforts to preserve open space (I never did link it to this blog). I found that buying property was the easy part. Maintaining properties and making them accessible to the public was challenge…at least for the city. The park district aims to improve on the city’s open space program with designated funds for the basics of running a park: trash cans, signs, trail building and maintenance, etc. You can read that story here.

The park district sent in a hopeful letter this week about the new levy’s prospects. The letter is also an invitation to islanders to join the open space committee, and includes information on how to get involved.

Read it below.

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Bainbridge park levy passes

Bainbridge voters on Tuesday approved a tax increase that will put almost $1 million a year toward new parks and open space preservation.

The Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park and Recreation District’s levy lid lift, which would pay for the acquisition and maintenance of new parklands, was approved with over 54 percent of the vote, according to election results released by the Kitsap County Auditor on Tuesday night.

“I’m so happy,” said Barb Trafton, co-chair of the pro-levy Bainbridge People for Parks. “It’s a very difficult environment now (for a levy lid lift) with the economy looking the way it does, but Bainbridge Island historically supports its parks, its environment and facilities to support our youth.”

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Sun endorses BI parks levy

The Kitsap Sun gave a thumbs up to the Bainbridge parks levy proposed in your ballot. Read the endorsement below.

EDITORIAL: Bainbridge Parks Levy Is a Good Call

Bainbridge Island residents love their open space, and want to preserve what they have.

Of course, the same thing can be said about money.

On Nov. 4, Bainbridge Island residents will be weighing those two priorities in a levy lid lift request by the Bainbridge Island Metro Park and Recreation District.

The issue would raise the district’s tax levy from the current 58 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value to 75 cents in 2009. For a median-priced $600,000 Bainbridge Island home, the increase would amount to about $102 per year.

If approved, the request would generate an estimated $1.1 million to $1.2 million in additional revenues for the district.

The district would use most of the money — a minimum of 75 percent — to purchase, develop and improve property for parks. The funds also would be used to enable work by a citizens committee to advise the district on property acquisitions.

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