NK continues to look at possible sports, rec campus

A proposed sports and recreation campus in North Kitsap, spearheaded by Kingston North Kitsap Rotary, has resulted in two community information meetings recently.

Rotarians have identified poorly maintained playing fields, in disparate locations, and a substantial lack of fields to meet current and projected demand, as an urgent issue in North Kitsap. They began crafting ideas on how to meet those needs, including an estimate of how much land would be needed. They searched possible centrally-located sites all over North Kitsap and sketched possible layouts, uses and operational possibilities.

Then Rotarian Clint Boxman, and others, went on a mission to seek other public and private parties that might have an interest in addressing the need for year-round sports fields for kids and adults. That led to identification of Raydient Places and Properties and YMCA of Kitsap and Pierce counties as potential partners.

Conversations between leaders of the three groups resulted in the christening of a project to be known as North Kitsap United, or NKU. A possible location was identified that is central to all North Kitsap communities and represents a chance to bring together communities, organizations and activities.

With a broad and basic outline in mind, about 400 community residents came to a June 27 meeting to learn about the idea. A follow-up meeting to allow for questions and answers occurred July 12, with approximately 100 attending.

Jon Rose represented Raydient, Clint Boxman the Rotary and Charlie Davis and Scott Smith the YMCA on June 27. The idea was presented as an approximately 40-acre site on Bond Road, near Stottlemeyer, owned by Raydient, that is part of a 400-acre property zoned for 20 twenty-acre homesites. Raydient has applied to Kitsap County to rezone the property for one dwelling per 5 acres, which would allow for 80 parcels. Raydient’s intent is to use “lot clustering,” whereby the parcels are only 1 to 1.5 acres each. With roads and storm systems, the residential project would occupy only a portion of the site, leaving potentially more than 200 acres of open space. Raydient’s hope is that a portion of that be transferred to the community for little or no cost.

The site would potentially feature soccer, softball and other outdoor playing fields, and space for other activities such as basketball, pickleball, a ropes course and frisbee golf. It would also potentially have a YMCA building with indoor courts and a swimming pool, other YMCA activity space, and a cafe/restaurant.

The purpose of the meeting was to share the early concept with the public and invite participation and ideas.

Many seemed frustrated by the lack of specifics—such as environmental matters, traffic impacts, nearby trails and forest incursion, site sketches, and operations and management, among others.

But because it was only in the vision stage those answers are not available.

Overall, support for the idea was overwhelmingly positive.

At the second meeting, the conversation showed concerns around several themes, including: how the complex would disturb trails and forests; that the site is outside the urban growth area of Kingston, possibly leading to “sprawl” along Bond Road; that there would be possible water and aquifer issues; that it would significantly impact nearby residents with traffic issues; and that there needed to be collaboration with other organizations, such as schools, tribes, Poulsbo, Kitsap County and the Port of Kingston.

All of the concerns are on the radar of organizers as development of “the idea” enters its next phase. Should the idea become reality, it is estimated it could take up to five years to complete.

The strong showing of support allowed Raydient to justify the cost of preliminary environmental studies such as traffic, wetlands, soils and stormwater management. The studies will take months to complete. When done, the group will again host a community meeting to share study results. A video of both meetings and the presentation will be available on Raydient’s website.

Are you interested in helping out? Do you have ideas for other activities that would fit well in this central location? Readers are invited to visit Kingston North Kitsap Rotary’s website at rotaryknk.org or Raydient’s project website at northkitsapunited.com

Rom Carter is with Kingston North Kitsap Rotary