Cleaning up for the future

Teens help clean up Markwick property in hopes of creating youth center.


Staff writer

Here’s a riddle: What does it take to get Ron Ross to drive a green John Deere tractor and Tex Lewis to climb trees and do a little tree trimming?

The possibility of a youth center along Silverdale Way.

The idea brought together Central Kitsap High School students, Clear Creek Task Force members, Central Kitsap Kiwanis and Silverdale Kiwanis Saturday morning. The group of teens and adults spent the morning clearing out overgrowth, trimming tree branches and cleaning up the Markwick property situated directly north of where State Route 303 crosses over Silverdale Way.

“What we’re trying to do is just kind of clean it up so it looks good,” said Lewis, Clear Creek Task Force co-chair. “We just want to get in a good heavy spring cleaning.”

The Clear Creek Task Force would like the roughly 14-acre parcel of land to become the latest addition to the Clear Creek Trail, adding to the existing trail and creating a bike trail connecting Silverdale to the Ridgetop area.

“(Tex) has got some real nice plans for this area,” said local real estate developer Gary Lindsey, one of the owners of the Markwick property. “We’re going to build whatever he wants and a bike trail for the area.”

Lewis’ vision is to see the old, white Markwick house turned into a youth center. Lewis and his neighbor, CKHS senior Keri Moore, discussed the plan and the Honor Society president and Key Club member eagerly began recruiting her peers to support the plan.

“I want a place where kids can hang out and not have to worry,” Moore said. “I just want a place where kids can hang out after school besides the mall.”

CK and Silverdale Kiwanis members joined Saturday’s cleanup party because they too think a youth center and Clear Creek Trail extension would be a good idea.

“It’s certainly a very nice site and we’d like to see it put to good use,” CK Kiwanis Secretary Bruce Van Woudenberg said.

Van Woudenberg also was impressed that nearly 20 CKHS students spent their Saturday morning clearing brush and trimming trees. He said that just shows how much the teens would like to have a youth center in Silverdale.

“It’s good to see the students come out,” Van Woudenberg said. “It gives them a buy-in, ownership to what’s going on and that’s a good thing.”

Lewis also was impressed by the outpouring of support from local high school students. He wasn’t surprised, but glad to have the teens involved in Saturday’s cleanup.

“I’m not surprised, but I am gratified,” Lewis said with a smile. “We’ve got good kids in this town. I wasn’t surprised, but I’m grateful to see them come out.”

Lewis met with Kitsap County Commissioners Steve Bauer and Jan Angel last fall to discuss the potential of the county-owned Markwick property. The commissioners gave him six months to find a way to maintain the buildings and property, so Lewis contacted local high school students and saw there was quite an interest in having a youth center in Silverdale.

Lindsey said he is “optimistic” the plan will come together. He added that a portion of the trail through the property may be open as early as this summer. The Markwick property is owned by Lindsey and a couple of other partners who form Kitsap LLC.

Moore said she would like to see the youth center up and running by the summer before she heads off for college. Lewis also would like to make that ambitious goal a reality.

“Everything’s possible,” Lewis said with a smile. “That’s an ambitious plan, but I like ambitious plans.”