COUNTY TRANSFERS PARKS TO PENMET AND STATE
December 15, 2010; Gig Harbor, WA - In a move to preserve the future of public spaces, Pierce County is transferring eight park properties in the Gig Harbor area to the Peninsula Metropolitan Park District.
The transfer follows the path set by the Pierce County Council in 2008 and 2009 when it declared the county’s interest in transferring parks and open spaces to local jurisdictions in appropriate circumstances. Executive Pat McCarthy’s administration negotiated the transfer with PenMet Parks, and the County Council voted 6-0 to approve it on Tuesday, Dec. 14.
“The citizens of Pierce County benefit in a variety of ways,” said Councilmember Roger Bush (District 3). “This transfer protects park properties that are beloved in the Gig Harbor area, which means families will continue enjoying these recreational opportunities for years to come. And the transfer helps reduce the strain on county funds, which have decreased substantially.”
Under the transfer agreement, Pierce County will allocate $166,000 a year for three years to PenMet Parks to help with maintenance and operations of the properties during a transition period. After the third year, PenMet Parks assumes all responsibility for the lands.
“Parks are a key component of building and supporting livable communities. This transfer ensures that these properties will be in good hands,” Executive McCarthy said. “The role of Pierce County Parks and Recreation is to acquire, develop and operate large regional parks. We appreciate opportunities like this to transfer ownership of small parks to their local communities.”
The properties to be transferred to Pen Met are:
* Cushman Trail, located in the vicinity of 14th Avenue NW.
* Fox Island Fishing Pier on Ozette Drive.
* Hales Pass Recreation Area on Ray Nash Drive.
* Purdy C, located along Bujacich Road NW.
* Narrows Park, located on Lucille Parkway NW.
* Sunrise Beach/Doc Weathers Park, located on Sunrise Beach Drive NW.
* Boat-launching site at 13th Avenue and Lescht Drive NW.
* Peninsula Recreation Area, located along Bujacich Road NW.
“PenMet Parks and Pierce County have been working toward this agreement for a few years now, and it is great to see it come together,” said Scott Junge, president of the PenMet board. “This should create greater efficiencies for the maintenance and development of the properties in our district. I would like to thank Pierce County’s Executive, Council and Parks and Recreation Department for their efforts to make this transfer possible.”
In a related move, the County Council also voted unanimously Tuesday, Dec. 14, to approve the transfer of Delano Beach on the Key Peninsula to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. Delano Beach is contiguous with Penrose State Park, which means it is most efficient for the state and its on-site rangers to be responsible for park stewardship and public service.
The Executive and Councilmembers praised outgoing Councilmember Terry Lee (District 7) for his work over the past five years to promote these property transfers. They noted that talks continue with other jurisdictions about transfers of county properties.
The county’s policy of transferring properties was established by the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan, per ordinance 2008-38s and 2009-81s.
Hunter George, Pierce County Communications director
Scott Junge, PenMet Parks president