“Poulsbo nets $488,000 state salmon grant”

Funds could help purchase park land near Dogfish Creek.

“POULSBO – Mary McCluskey, director of Poulsbo Parks and Recreation, is becoming quite a catch in terms of being someone who has experience netting big grants. She’s landed grants that serve to enhance the city’s environment not just for its residents and visitors, but for endangered salmon stocks as well. For the second time in two weeks, McCluskey had good news concerning improvements to the north end of Liberty Bay and Dogfish Creek. After attaining a high ranking for a $1.4 million proposal to create a bridge at Lindvig Way – replacing the existing culvert to better local salmon stock’s chances of survival – she was at it again Friday. A $488,125 Aquatic Lands Enhancement Act grant has been awarded to the city for the purpose of purchasing 12 acres along Dogfish Creek. With additional grant sources, the funding will allow Poulsbo to create an environmentally friendly park along the waterway. We received a letter from the Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Jennifer Belcher that this would be one of 13 ALEA projects her agency would be recommending to the Legislature, McCluskey explained. McCluskey, who worked with Mayor Donna Jean Bruce on the project, said if council gives the go ahead, it still has a ways to go grantwise before Poulsbo can purchase the land outright. A recent appraisal of the property put it at $975,000 – leaving the city about $487,000 short of the asking price. Even so, Poulsbo has until mid-2001 to discover other funding sources because a final Legislative decision on the matter isn’t expected until June. That should allow the city the time it needs to find matching grants for the project. McCluskey said the city has yet to make an offer on the property. The property was for sale up there and we put our heads together to see if we could buy it, explained Mayor Bruce, adding that improving the site would benefit the environment. This works together well with the ESA (Endangered Species Act). Poulsbo, like many cities throughout Kitsap County, has been trying to find a plausible answer to the growing pressures under the ESA. Mandates and restrictions are being passed down to the local level, leaving some communities up the creek in terms addressing environmental issues. The restoration plan, coupled with the Lindvig bridge, would be a step in the right direction concerning Poulsbo’s future ESA dealings. By protecting the shoreline it would also protect the salmon, Mayor Bruce explained, noting that the city doesn’t have a definite plan for the acreage nailed down at this time. Nonetheless, McCluskey added, the purchase of the property has been listed in Poulsbo capital improvement plan since 1994. If it’s approved, it would be in next year’s state budget, she explained. It will most likely be a passive park – somewhere that people can go down to and watch the fish come back year after year after year. City planner Glenn Gross said the purchase of the land would work in connection with salmon restoration efforts. He also felt that if all worked out the new site and Lindvig might also serve as a pedestrian link to Nelson Park on the west side of Liberty Bay. As for the competitive grant, Gross applauded the persistence of McCluskey and Bruce. It speaks well for the mayor’s efforts and for Mary’s legwork, he remarked. I know that it’s a pretty special thing for the city. “