Visitor’s cabin on the block

Amid racks full of pamphlets and maps in the visitors cabin located just off State Route 16 at the Sedgwick Avenue exit, volunteer Howard Stage, 81, passes the time reading a newspaper and chatting with his friend Tom Hokanson, 71. During the winter months, the South Kitsap resident doesn’t see many people pass through the center on his shifts, especially this Thursday with the cold weather, rain and strong winds.

Amid racks full of pamphlets and maps in the visitors cabin located just off State Route 16 at the Sedgwick Avenue exit, volunteer Howard Stage, 81, passes the time reading a newspaper and chatting with his friend Tom Hokanson, 71.

During the winter months, the South Kitsap resident doesn’t see many people pass through the center on his shifts, especially this Thursday with the cold weather, rain and strong winds.

“Weather like this, you don’t have many,” he said. “But in nice weather you average about 100 per week.”

According to the sign-in sheets Stage looked at, last March the center saw 400 visitors.

But the future of the cabin, built through cash and material donations from local businesses, sits in limbo as its governing agency, the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau, seeks a buyer for the 10-year-old facility.

The bureau’s executive director, Grant Griffin, explained the industry nationwide is moving away from the small, roadside visitors center on the whole, explaining that they are “concentrating on what our business is, which is growing the economy through tourism.”

Griffin hoped the city of Port Orchard might step up and take the reigns of the operation, but after a Tuesday night study session, the mayor and council are no longer considering the opportunity.

Mayor Lary Coppola cited the cost of buying and moving the facility as problematic.

“If we had something we specifically would want to do with it, it might make sense,” he said.

Councilman John Clauson agreed, noting that the building is being sold for around $10,000, and it would cost at least that much if it needed to be moved.

It sits on the Days Inn property next to SR-16.

“The ground that it sits on doesn’t have any kind of a long-term agreement. The cost of moving it is really up in the air,” he said, “There were just so many open-ended issues that if the (Visitor and Convention Bureau) has any other interested parties, maybe that’s what they should do.”

But to Stage, the discussion is being held by the wrong people. The bureau owns the facility, but Stage believes it’s owned by the businesses and volunteers who paid for and donated materials for its construction.

“It would be a shame to lose the building because of all the money invested,” he said.

Plus the service he provides, directing tourists staying at the hotel to various parks in the area. His favorite is the Manchester State Park, which includes a number of World War II-era structures.

Stage noted the overall cost of maintenance is low. There are no bathrooms or plumbing, the staff is entirely voluntary, leaving electricity and phone bills.

But with the city out of the picture, Griffin will have to seek another buyer, who may or may not want to maintain the building’s current function.

More in News

Poulsbo's Public Safety & Legal Committee held a meeting via Zoom last week. Courtesy photo
Poulsbo businesses victims of recent crime

Harding: lack of staffing, recent law changes hinder department

x
Felony arrest warrant issued for Gregory

18-year-old is wanted in connection with murder of Tyrone Sero

Matt Murphy, president/CEO of the South Kitsap Chamber of Commerce, received the 2021 AWB Grassroots Alliance Advocate of the Year Award from AWB President Kris Johnson, right, and AWB director of strategic engagement Dru Garson on Oct. 14, 2021.
South Kitsap Chamber of Commerce honored for advocacy

Award given by AWB business organization earlier this month

.
NKSD staff shortages could lead to remote learning

Teachers, bus drivers, subs all needed

.
Update: Suspect confesses to killing Port Orchard man during botched pot deal

19-year-old dealer shot during scuffle at South Kitsap parking lot

Greater Hansville Community Center will be hosting a drive-in trick-or-treating event Halloween evening. Courtesy illustration
Many COVID-conscious Halloween events in N. Kitsap

With Halloween coming this weekend, many COVID-19-conscious events will be occurring in… Continue reading

.
19-year-old admits to killing Port Orchard man

Gig Harbor man turns himself in and is booked on first-degree murder. Another suspect is also booked.

Map view of Strickland property. Courtesy photo
City of Poulsbo looking to buy resident’s property next to PERC site

Ellen Strickland wants to sell her property to city instead of developers

Most Read