A longtime Silverdale resident who helped formulate the original plans for the Central Kitsap Community Campus is asking the Kitsap Regional Library board of trustees to reconsider where to build the new Silverdale Library.
Attorney Robert MacDermid has sent a seven-page letter to members of the KRL Board of Trustees letting them know that he thinks the decision to site the library off Bucklin Hill Road was flawed.
In the letter, MacDermid, said he thinks the board ignored the desires of a majority of library patrons who wanted the library to be built on the Central Kitsap Community Campus, and chose the Bucklin Hill Road site because it was what the library staff wanted.
MacDermid pointed to an online survey KRL did last spring in which 477 voted for the community campus. At that time, the sites being considered were the community campus, property behind the Silverdale United Methodist Church, and a spot in Old Town. The community campus received the most votes in that survey.
But when owners of the location in Old Town decided to withdraw it, KRL began the process again.
The second survey also had three locations: the community campus, an existing building on Randall Road and the site off Bucklin Hill Road. In that survey the Bucklin Hill site received the most votes – 136 – while the campus received 49.
“The suggestion that these numbers accurately reflect the desire and will of the community is simply not correct,” MacDermid wrote of the second survey. “The entire process conducted by KRL to determine the will of the community was fatally flawed.”
Jeff Brody, community relations spokesman for KRL, said the board had received the letter and planned to give MacDermid time to speak at its meeting Tuesday. Brody said, however, the board wasn’t commenting on the letter ahead of the meeting.
In the letter, MacDermid also wrote that because the entire process was conducted by KRL, it was manipulated to “achieve their desired objective.”
MacDermid said it was apparent that the staff wanted the new library built on the Old Town site near Dyes Inlet and a park, and when that location was no longer available, the staff went looking for another site near water, ultimately coming up with the Bucklin Hill site which is off of Clear Creek and Old Mill Park.
He cited a Facebook post from Silverdale Library branch manager Melody Sky Eisler posted the day after the decision was made to build the library off Bucklin Hill Road, in which she wrote of her desire to have a library “located in a natural setting to truly inspire a community.”
He also said because the second voting was located on a table near Eisler’s desk at the Silverdale Library, “raises questions about the fairness and the integrity of the process.”
MacDermid has been involved in the planning of the community campus for more than 15 years and that from the beginning, he said it was always thought that the library would be placed on the campus. He said the campus was loosely patterned after Peter Kirk Park in Kirkland which includes a library.
MacDermid asked the board to consider its decision and hire an independent consulting group to study the issue and include proponents of both the community campus and the Bucklin Hill site in that process. The letter was expected to be discussed at the board’s monthly meeting Tuesday, Nov. 25. A decision on the purchase of the Bucklin Hill property was listed on the agenda for action. A proposed contract listed the price at $850,000 for the 1.14 acre parcel. While the Reporter newspaper went to press prior to that meeting, any action taken can be viewed on our website.