Decision items include next steps on Saint Edward Seminary
Virginia Painter, (360) 902-8562
OLYMPIA – Sept. 12, 2016 —The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission next week will consider next steps for possible redevelopment of the Saint Edward Seminary building.
The meeting begins at 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, at Holiday Inn, 1441 E. Washington St., Sequim. (Directions: http://www.hiesequim.com/map.htm) The Commission has seven regular meetings a year at various locations around the state, and time for public comment is provided. A full agenda, including information about public comment, is available at http://parks.state.wa.us/154/Commission-Meetings-Agendas.
The Commission will consider two agenda items about the Seminary building located at Saint Edward State Park near Kenmore. First, the Commission is expected to make a determination on whether a legislatively mandated study recently completed by Department of Commerce identifies any viable public or non-profit options for development and use of the Seminary building. In a separate determination, the Commission then will decide whether to continue to explore an earlier lodge development proposal by Daniels Real Estate of Seattle; if so, a Sept. 22 deadline may be extended to allow Daniels to bring forth a lease proposal.
For each item, 30 minutes of public comment time will be allowed; the items are tentatively scheduled for discussion and action beginning at 1:40 p.m.
The consideration is the latest in a years-long discussion and public meetings about how to care for the historic building, which has mounting preservation needs, is of limited usability in its current condition and historically has cost the agency about $100,000 a year to maintain. The Commission earlier concluded it could find an interested investor to rehabilitate the building for a modern use, or, as a last resort, shutter the building and let it slowly degrade.
In other business, the Commission will consider a pilot program for private investors to develop recreation amenities in four state parks. The private development of cabins or other facilities is not to privatize parks but to provide visitor amenities at little to no cost to the state. State Parks would earn revenue from the concession agreements. Any development would need to be aligned with the State Parks mission and would be sited to avoid negative impacts to sensitive natural features and systems.
The pilot parks under consideration include Fort Flagler Historical State Park and Millersylvania and Squilchuck state parks. The fourth site would combine Westhaven and Westport Light state parks, to be renamed as Point Chehalis State Park.
The Commission will allow 30 minutes of public comment on the item, which is tentatively scheduled to begin at 12:40 p.m.
Other action items on the agenda include:
- Review and rescinding of outdated Commission policies.
- Revisions to the Commission’s law enforcement and public safety policy.
- Ranking of 16 development and acquisition grant projects proposed for funding through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program
- The agency’s 2017 supplemental budget request.
The Commission also will hear an annual update on the status of the Kukutali Preserve as part of Deception Pass State Park. Kukutali is co-managed by Washington State Parks and the Swinomish Tribe.
Commission work session
A work session is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, at the Holiday Inn, 1441 E. Washington St., Sequim. The public is invited; however, there is no opportunity for public comment, and no formal action is taken at work sessions.
Items on the work session agenda include: Customer service initiative; preventative maintenance spending; environmental learning centers; Beacon Rock climbing plan; state’s capital budget outlook; State Parks grant opportunities; financial update; request legislation and recreation access proviso; Results Washington; and a marketing update.
Commission members will gather for a tour of Bogachiel State Park and Clallam Bay/Hoko area park properties, departing at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, from Holiday Inn, 1441 E. Washington St., Sequim. Tour participants will return to the hotel at 5:30 p.m.
About Washington State Parks
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.
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Support state parks by purchasing your annual Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov.
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