3 vie for Village Green position

As election primaries approach Aug. 3 there is only one race in North Kitsap to keep an eye on as three candidates are vying for Village Green Metropolitan Park District Position 5.

The candidates are Ben Nimmons, incumbent Bob Netzel, and Ronald Luke.

Luke moved to Kingston from New York in the early 1980s, purchasing 10.5 acres of local history from the Pederson Dairy Farm, which had fallen into deterioration after it was sold during a public auction in 1956. Luke restored the farm and orchard in addition to work with Fort Ward State Park to maintain the trails, restrooms and boat launches.

Netzel, 58, was elected to fill a position that became open in 2020. Netzel earned his bachelors’ degree in 1984 and worked as a manufacturing engineer in the aerospace industry for 32 years before retiring in 2017. Netzel then began volunteering at the Village Green and could often be seen working the front desk.

Nimmons, 35, recently moved to Kingston from Seattle. He earned his master’s of science in software development and design from Carnegie Mellon University, his bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from Santa Clarita University, and attended high school at Seattle Prep. Nimmons works as principal designer for Facebook. Growing up in Seattle he has spent many years hiking and backpacking in Kitsap County, spending a lot of time in Kingston’s outdoor spaces.

The North Kitsap Herald emailed questionnaires to each of the candidates. Netzel was the only one to respond by the deadline for the printed publication.

What’s your experience?

Netzel: “I have been successfully filling this position for the past year. Additionally, I have been a volunteer at the Village Green for more than three years and have developed an effective working relationship with all the staff, volunteers, and people who use the Village Green. My 32 years in the aerospace industry have given me experience in creating and maintaining budgets for major facilities. It has also given me experience working closely with vendors, contractors and maintenance personnel. I have a hands-on approach to the commissioner position and will continue to be directly involved with the day-to-day operation of the Village Green, as well as planning for the future of the park district.”

Nimmons: “I believe I am qualified because I have a vested interest, just as all other people in my community, in the parks, green spaces, and natural environment that we all share. I am excited at the opportunity to help expand the access, use, and sustainability of these resources.”

What goals would you like to accomplish?

Netzel: “I love what the Village Green does for the community. As a commissioner I spearheaded upgrades that solved WiFi access problems. For the brief period that the Village Green was closed to the public, the Boys & Girls Club remained open, serving elementary-aged kids who needed to access classes online. Their Wi-Fi service was inadequate. I invested numerous volunteer hours coordinating with our technical services contractor to analyze the problem and implement upgraded access points throughout the building. I also provided technical support for a team of six volunteers who selected and implemented an improved reservations system. These are just two examples of the direct technical and customer support experience I bring to this position. I intend to continue my commitment to service and to continue declining any salary or compensation for these efforts.”

Nimmons: “I’m running for this position because I am excited at the opportunity to participate and serve my community. I want to learn the challenges and limits we have currently and see if we can improve the capabilities and resources that we have. Increase access and sustainable use of the existing resources.”

Why should voters choose you over your opponents?

Netzel: “During the district’s 11-year history, commissioners have delivered taxpayer value by holding the tax rate to the minimum needed to address community goals. I will do my part to continue that. I have held the commissioner position for more than a year, and I have proven I have the knowledge and experience to perform the duties of a commissioner. Technology is quickly changing, and I have the competence and skills to help navigate the MPD through this ever-changing business environment. I have demonstrated that I can work effectively with the other commissioners and my insight as both a community center volunteer and technical liaison helps round out the team.”

Nimmons: “I am eager to participate and learn.”

Ronald Luke

Ronald Luke