Supporters of Chuck Jeu Center Lose Funding Source

New SK Parks Commissioner Vows to Work Cooperatively with County

With its existence as a governing body winding down, the South Kitsap Parks & Recreation District Board of Commissioners is looking at closing up shop. The board has so far taken one of three steps toward finalizing transfer of South Kitsap Community Park to Kitsap County. An agreement on the transfer was reached April 12 after lengthy and sometimes testy negotiations between the two parties.
In other SK Parks news, Mary Colborn, the parks district’s newest commissioner has hit a snag in her plans for future projects at the park.
Colborn was appointed to the board May 23 to fill the vacancy left when Steve Horn abruptly resigned earlier this year. She has learned that a potential funding source she was hoping to access for a recreation center at the park is no longer available to Supporters of the Chuck F. Jeu Family Recreation Center, a group she represents.

Chuck Jeu, a longtime supporter of South Kitsap Community Park, died last May of cancer. A memorial fund totaling roughly $15,000 was established in his name through the nonprofit Northwest Parks Foundation of Woodinville.
Colborn and Margie Rees, another South Kitsap Parks commissioner who is promoting the Chuck Jeu center, had hoped to use the memorial fund to develop a plan for a multifaceted, sustainable recreation complex at the park. Within the last month, however, the group has been legally barred from accessing the memorial fund.
Kristen Bush, Northwest parks executive director, confirmed last week that her organization has issued a “cease and desist” order against Colborn and her group.
Bush would not elaborate on what led to the order. She simply said, “The group’s mission is not in alignment with the Northwest Parks Foundation’s mission, nor the Chuck Jeu family.”
Bush said Northwest Parks still supports Chuck Jeu’s original vision for a recreation center at the park, and she said the family has ultimate jurisdiction over how the funds should be used.
Jeu’s widow Tina Jeu had no comment.
Colborn said she was at a loss to explain Northwest Parks’ decision to withhold funding. She said she had received encouragement for her plan from Bush in 2006, and that “the vision has not changed in any iota at all,”
Colborn plans to continue promoting the recreation complex, which would include a built-green community center, a community garden, outdoor theater, skateboard park and more. She is hoping to partner with local youth groups and organizations, many of whom she has spoken to about the center. She said she will seek alternate funding for the project.
Colborn, once an advocate of the county’s takeover of the park, became an outspoken critic of the move in the months before the agreement was signed. Colborn presented her plan for the Chuck Jeu center to the parks board in March, along with Richard Swartz of Amajin Architecture of Port Orchard. Swartz, with his wife and partner Kris, has donated 175 hours of his services to draw up preliminary plans for the center. At a meeting March 9, Colborn said money from the Chuck Jeu memorial would be used to pay the Swartzes for for completing the plan, which would include the establishment of grants and other ongoing funding for the center.
Swartz said last week he did not expect to be reimbursed for the 175 hours. He remains enthusiastic about the project, but said he doesn’t want to invest much more time in it until he knows where the county stands on the proposal.
South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel said she is willing to entertain ideas from Colborn’s’ group, but that the county also needs to give other community members the chance to present their ideas for the park.
Colborn says she is willing to work cooperatively with county officials on future planning for the park after the takeover is finalized. Rees, who resisted the proposed transfer up to the end, casting the lone “no” vote on the agreement, has said she,too, is willing to work with the county.
Larry Walker, parks board president, said the board was aware of the issue with Northwest Parks before it appointed Colborn, but he remains confident in their choice.
“She has been involved both in good ways and bad ways with the park for years,” Walker said. “She’s had a vision. I take that as just a good voice to have on the board.”
Colborn was one of two people who applied for Horn’s seat on the board.
Walker, who holds the deciding vote on further steps toward dissolution, said he doesn’t see anything that could derail the park transfer process now. Once the agreement has been reviewed in superior court, the board will sign a quit claim deed. Then within 30 days they must sign a petition to dissolve and the deal will be final.

8 thoughts on “Supporters of Chuck Jeu Center Lose Funding Source

  1. I’m not sure where the paper got the information that only two individuals applied for the open seat, but I know at least two individuals, other than Mary Colborn, who applied.

    Several months ago, before she left the “Grow the Park” group, Mary asked for my opinion about engaging an architect and I said that we shouldn’t get the cart before the horse. Our group had been focused for months on getting the SKPRD to engage Kitsap County on dissolution. I explained to Mary that we needed to focus on responsible and financially capable stewardship for the park and that any development plan for park improvements would depend on the vision, funding stream, and cooperation of whomever would be the long-term steward of the park.

    Mary went forward, on her own, anyway and apparently initiated architectural services from Mr. Swartz. They came to an SKPRD board meeting and presented a concept and they encouraged the SKPRD not to dissolve and said funding streams were available for their vision but they needed more time to secure the funding.

    Even members of the SKPRD agreed that this was getting the cart before the horse.

    Mr. Swartz told a group of us talking with him after the meeting that he was providing paid architectural services, but the terms were none of our business, except that he was billing at an extremely low rate initially.

    Mary told me, at the time, that she had the support of the NW Parks Foundation. I found out a few weeks ago that such was not the case.

    The NW Parks Foundation is a great organization. They are a responsible organization. However, they are not obligated to pay for services that were contracted for without their knowledge or approval.

    Kathryn Simpson

  2. Day of Caring and Appreciation

    On Wednesday, June 20th, the South Kitsap Parks and Recreation District (SKPRD) and Kitsap County will partner with United Way to present a Day of Caring and Appreciation at the South Kitsap Community Park.

    It will be a chance for the SKPRD and the KC to honor all the past SKPRD board members and the hundreds of volunteers who have shepherded this park, stewarding and protecting it for these many years. People have given freely of their time, energy and money to care for this park and we wish to honor that commitment.

    Since the Day of Caring is traditionally a chance for the community to give back, the Day of Caring and Appreciation will also serve as a workday, whereby members of the community can express their appreciation with their hands as well as their hearts.

    SKPRD board members, Margie Rees, Ron Flerx and I are busy crafting handmade gifts for volunteers and former SKPRD board members. Former SKPRD board member and caterer, Melissa Lund, is helping with food. SKPRD Chairman Larry Walker and Kitsap County representatives are preparing expressions of gratitude.

    We would like to take this opportunity to formally invite all former SKPRD board members, all past volunteers and everyone who cares for this park to come June 20th and celebrate a new era of cooperation and goodwill.

  3. Before Chuck Jeu passed away in May of 2006 a Memorial Foundation was set up through the Northwest Parks Foundation. Under the Donor Bill of Rights, Northwest Parks Foundation is required to disburse funds as donors intend.Chuck’s intended use of the funds is for a future family recreation center.
    Mary was a Representative for the Memorial Fund until she insisted that the initial funds be turned be over to her group.( To pay the Architectural group she hired? ) Because of Mary’s insistence and attempts by legal means to obtain the funds, Chuck’s widow Tina has directed Mary to “cease representing the Chuck Jeu Foundation.”
    Mary’s group to include SK Park Commissioner Margie Rees (The loan “no” vote to dissolving the SK Park) will now have to seek alternative funding resources and perhaps a new architect.

    Colborn has put the cart before the horse on this issue. Any future plans for South Kitsap Park will come from Kitsap County and the local community. Not from a handful of people.

  4. Oh, both of you are invited to the Day of Caring and Appreciation. The County will be providing breakfast in the morning at the Fairgrounds and we’ll take care of lunch.

    I had forgotten to mention that tenants are, of course, invited. Nelson asked that question at the last meeting and we need to make sure that is clear.

    The LDS church has been a strong supporter of the Day of Caring in the past, so feel free to invite your church group, your workplace, your Boy or Girl Scout troop or sports league.

    We want to make sure that we honor all volunteers who have ever served the South Kitsap Community Park.

    Thanks for giving us this forum.

  5. Since I have other commitments on June 20th, I’ll take this opportunity to thank those who serve and have served in our community. Whether it is in the parks, in our schools, at Helpline, Scouts, 4H, sports, or any of the other wonderful ways folks in our community give back… THANK YOU!!!

    Kathryn Simpson

  6. I just spoke with Tamra Ingwaldson, who is the United Way coordinator for the Kitsap Day of Caring. She asked me to pass along that she would appreciate groups giving her some advance notice of their intent to participate. The spirit of volunteerism is so great in Kitsap County that Tamra wants to make sure that all the projects across Kitsap County receive balanced coverage and that everyone who volunteers has meaningful opportunities on the 20th. Apparently there are already over 600 volunteers! WOW!!

    She also said that a corporate sponsor was providing box lunches at each of the work sites, including South Kitsap Community Park.

    Thanks to Mary and the SKPRD who are augmenting that effort and honoring past and present SKPRD Board Members.

    Kathryn Simpson

  7. I too will be out of town on the 20th. It’s been a very long work deployment for my husband and I will be traveling to spend time with him.

    As soon as the SK Park Board sign’s the transfer of property to Kitsap County and the thirty day waiting period is over, then the community can help move the park forward to the point where it can be the premier Kitsap County Park-right here in the heart of South Kitsap.

    To my dearly departed friend in Christ, Chuck Jeu and former Chairperson Cheryl Lockhart who together formed “Citizens for Section 36” some 28 years ago in order to save the land, to the “dashes” in -between and to the current SK Board, THANKYOU for saving this land for the current population and for future generations to come.

  8. Thank you for working to engage volunteers. I would like to clarify information about the 14th Annual Day of Caring scheduled for 6-20-07. Currently we have 35 projects screened & scheduled & a list of over 600 volunteers already registered to participate. 100 of those are already registered to do work at the SK Park off of Jackson & Lund. This was arranged with Kitsap County Parks representative, Brian H. after he met with current SK Parks Commissioners Ron & Margie. If additional volunteers show up at the park, it could become overloaded. If you are interested in volunteering for this event, please email me at work & I will create a waiting list for this project site. If there is additional work that will need to be done after the 6/20 event, I will connect with Brian H. to set up another day & notify those who have signed up on the waiting list, specific to this project of any future event scheduled. We have also already made arrangements for lunches & breakfast for registered volunteers. These are provided by our sponsors, Costco & Harrison Medical Center, in additon to t-shirts for registered volunteers thanks to the sponsorship of KPS Health Plans & CFA NW Mortgage Professionals. I would also like to thank the Kitsap SUN for their media support of this years’ event.
    If you would like to volunteer for other events and organizations throughout Kitsap County, please visit,, click on Volunteer Now, then type in your zip code, select County & click search. Thank you for wanting to Lend a Hand Close to Home.

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