Monday: PFD to make critical funding decision on SK Community Center

Downtown Port Orchard project is one of seven in Kitsap under consideration

PORT ORCHARD — The process of obtaining critical funding for the South Kitsap Community Events Center is slowly grinding forward, culminating with a possible decision by board members of the Kitsap Public Facilities District Monday at its 5:30 p.m. meeting in the county commissioners chambers in Port Orchard.

The South Kitsap proposal is one of seven under consideration by PFD board members, who over a three-meeting period has taken public input as well as studied the pros and cons of each of the projects.

Steve Sego, a representative of the commercial development company Sound West Group of Bremerton and the public face of the project, said he expects board members will come to the meeting and share their rankings of the projects on a scale of 1 to 7.

“They’ve talked about the idea that they would narrow the list down to two or three projects,” Sego said Tuesday. “Whether that happens, I’m not sure. The truth is that out of that meeting will come the ranking of the top three projects from the PFD’s perspective. That will then decide where they go with their commitment of capital for each of these projects.”

Sego said the board of directors has been advised that the district has up to $30 million in bonding capacity. The South Kitsap group has requested a commitment from the board of between $10-13 million in funding for its project.

The Public Facilities District board has responsibility for allocating an existing pool of Washington state sale tax rebate funds that have been allocated to Kitsap County. In past statements, the board had said it places a preference on a project slated for South Kitsap since that part of the county has yet to receive PFD funding for a community project.

The South Kitsap Community Events Center — estimated to cost $21 million — would be an up to 30,000-square-foot facility housing a relocated Port Orchard Library and convertible space for community events and meetings at a location next to the city marina. A timely decision by the PFD board would help accelerate the project, which is the initial part of a $120 million multi-use, multi-phased commercial and residential redevelopment plan that would reshape a major portion of the downtown area.

Despite the uncertainty about how the PFD board will proceed, Sego said he feels positive about the eventual outcome.

“I feel very good,” he said of the South Kitsap project’s chances. “No one has said in the comment period that they didn’t think this was a good project. There were a lot of positives and the feedback I’m hearing is very positive, and from among many who think it’s probably the best project. But then, others may feel differently.”

Sego is hoping for a big turnout from South Kitsap boosters similar in size to that seen when the PFD board met in Silverdale in March. More than 100 supporters filled the meeting room to show their approval for the community center project. He’s urging boosters to arrive at least 30 minutes early so they can secure seats at the meeting.

“Our attendance will show the PFD that we are not taking this opportunity lightly,” he said in a Facebook post. “They’ve funded projects across the county with our tax dollars for 20 years, but never here in SK — it’s our turn. We need to make sure they keep their commitment to our community.”