POULSBO — Knowing that actions speak louder than words, supporters of a renovated Nelson Park converged on the Viking Avenue site Monday to show the city that they aren’t afraid of a little hard work.
About 10 volunteers led by Bill Austin spent their afternoon pulling weeds and cutting blackberry bushes in an effort to beautify the often overlooked Poulsbo amenity. The effort, which continues this Saturday at 10 a.m., is just part of a plan to ensure that Nelson Park not only regains its former charm, but retains its historic house as well.
The aging homestead, which Austin and other historically-minded residents feel is worth keeping, has fallen into disrepair over the years. While the city has made a case that renovations would be cost prohibitive, Austin has countered that the home is solid and that volunteers would be willing to spend the time and effort to overhaul the structure that was scheduled for razing last year.
The yard work parties are just the beginning of this commitment and something Austin said he felt are good steps toward vastly improving the entire park.
“We were there with the Lemolo Citizens Club and pulled out a lot of weeds, blackberry and dead stuff,” he explained Tuesday. “I’d say we created an extra quarter acre of usable land there. We continue this Saturday and we’re looking for bodies, of course.”
Poulsbo Parks and Recreation Director Mary McCluskey said while she was aware that the work party had taken place — the event was not a city-run activity.
McCluskey also explained that her department is currently seeking grants for the site. The problem, she said, is that the Nelson Park Master Plan “isn’t up to date.”
“The site looks different than did than it did in 1998,” she added, noting that work along Viking Avenue had changed some features at the park. The alterations may make it necessary to consider creating a new master plan, McCluskey remarked.
As for the homestead, she said, “I’m not really sure where the house is right now.”
No one really is, and despite Austin’s continued push for renovations the fate of the structure will be decided by the Poulsbo City Council.
“The house is coming along,” Austin said of plans to improve the building. “We’re going before the city council on May 1. Hopefully, our demands will be met.”
In the near future, volunteers will be seeking a demolition permit to remove rot from the home’s interior before going to the city for building permits to rejuvenate the site.
“I’m quite excited about the way things are going and we plan to get this under way this year — hopefully sooner than later,” Austin said.