Village Green update: coming to a consensus on grading project

The public was invited to participate in a meeting Nov. 24 to learn more about and weigh in on options for grading the former Navy housing site, located in the Kingston’s Village Green park off West Kingston Road. About 26 people attended. Kitsap County Parks and Recreation staff presented several options, using wall charts and three-dimensional models. At issue were how many trees would be removed, what provisions would be made for parking, and how much earth would be moved in the process. The option chosen will determine the look and feel of the site until a replacement community center is built, with groundbreaking in either 2010 or 2012 depending on capital grants.

Most-favored option

The majority of meeting attendees preferred the option labeled ‘Existing Conditions.’ It retains the existing paved road, takes out the driveway aprons and offers functional park space most quickly. The consensus was that the community needs to see and use the space as a park sooner rather than later. It is also the lowest cost option (pending rulings about the setback needed to accommodate Kingston Creek), preserving funds for use in the rest of the Village Green and towards construction of the community center itself. Parking could be made available along the paved road, with an eye to safety of any pedestrians using the road as a walkway.

The prevailing view was to also remove or cut back most of the photinia hedges along West Kingston Road, replacing them with other less-dense and healthier plantings. Experts will help decide what could take the place of these hedges to enhance park security while maintaining a sense of greenery.

Meeting attendees stated a strong requirement that the existing restrooms in the lift station on the former sewage treatment plant property be opened and functional.

Other options presented at the meeting included: one large field, that would require more grading and re-situated parking; three small fields, which generated some support but would be more costly because of time and more extensive grading; and a ‘field and forest’ option that would relocate parking but create nice inviting spaces.

The parks department will develop a final design recommendation based on the preferred option and after questions are answered pertaining to buffers around the stream. Those at the meeting agreed to empower the Village Green Stewardship Committee to approve the final recommendation ptovided by the parks department. Area students may also be given a chance to walk the site and provide feedback. The parks department anticipates reactivating the permitting process for grading at the site in January and going out to bid on the project in February or March with work beginning in early spring 2009.

The present fencing will be moved inside the hedge for the winter, and a “Park in your Future” sign will be posted at the site. Finally, remember that the project involves a park with a building in it, as much as a building in a park!

Many thanks to parks staff for their roles in making this meeting happen, and to all who attended and express ongoing interest in the Village Green. There is indeed a park in our future!