SK Park: Goodbye, Hello

South Kitsap Community Park volunteers past and present gathered today for what easily could have turned into a funeral. After 28 years of independence, the park has been turned over to Kitsap County, an agreement reached after nearly two years of sometimes less than friendly negotiations. The parks board hosted one last hurrah to say thanks to all the folks who have kept the park going on a shoestring.

Instead, it was more of an Irish wake (minus the Guinness), with the old guard (the parks board) toasting the new guard (county officials) and visa versa, and everyone saying the same thing — this is not the end, but a new beginning for the park.

“I think we’re turning it over to some very excellent stewards,” said parks board president Larry Walker. “They’re not the enemy. They’re our friends.”

“Since the decision was made, they’ve been really good to work with,” said Chip Faver, head of the county’s Facilities, Parks and Recreation. “They’ve put their hearts out to volunteer, to make it easier. However difficult this has been, it hasn’t been a difficult turnover process.”

Faver said not only were former parks volunteers invited to stay involved with the park and its future, he was counting on it.

Margie Rees, who strongly resisted the takeover, seemed upbeat and optimistic.
“I still am against their taking it over,” she said. “But I will work with them. We’ll work with them. … I hope it works out.”

2 thoughts on “SK Park: Goodbye, Hello

  1. It really was a wonderful event. I am grateful to everyone on the South Kitsap Parks and Recreation District board for investing so much of their time (and money) into making it beautiful; to the tenants, the SK Amateur Radio Club, Kitsap Horseshoers and KLS, who ran the trains for us, for helping to make the day so special.

    It was so wonderful to have past park board commissioners, like Melissa Lund, Jessie Turner, Evelyn Hetrick, Russ Lombard and Charlotte Garrido share their memories and hopes. We were surprised to see Judy Oke come carrying a memory book of Bob’s time on the park’s board.

    Their presence there really brought home the value of the park to the people and the contributions, thereof, as did the presence of our amazing volunteers. Not all could make it, but the ones who did really touched our hearts with their words. Their love for the park shown through.

    Having Kim Abel and Fred Chang there, as well as so many members of Kitsap County’s Parks Department was amazing. They took time out to meet, greet and mingle with the park’s volunteers. We appreciate them, so much for their efforts. Working with them these past few weeks has brought a lot of joy to this park’s board.

    And, you couldn’t scoff at our entertainment, eithr. DJ Joe Frank gave us his time for free in honor of his uncle, Chuck Jeu and his words brought tears to several eyes, as did Judy Oke’s. The barbershop quartet that followed Joe was a big hit, too.

    All around it was a splendid day. Margie ordered up perfect sunshine and that’s what we got.

    And, now we will continue the process we have started, working together to make this park even more wonderful.

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