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Family Fun Center a go despite controversy

“Noise” seemed to top everyone’s list of possible problems if a long-planned amusement park is built north of Bremerton.

The “Tropical Paradise Family Fun Center,” planned for about five acres near the northwest corner of Almira Drive and Riddell Road (just behind the Fred Meyer store on SR 3/Waaga Way) will include internal-combustion go-karts and batting cages, among other things requiring noise-reducing fencing.

Neighbors don’t think the fencing will be effective. Even a county planner admitted the project is “unusual” for the area, making it challenging to apply local codes. Project builders, Brian and Becky Ferguson of Bremerton, want to minimize expensive fencing by installing it as needed.

Meanwhile, County Planner Rick McNicholas, gave thumbs up on the project to Hearing Examiner Steve Causseaux Jr. at the examiner’s meeting, May 8 — provided builders stick to county orders to keep noise fences up — and up high.

Retired engineer Bernie Stanton, who lives at the southeast corner of Almira and Riddell, was among a dozen people who asked to testify. There were two dozen people at the meeting.

“I don’t like the vague language in the (report),” he said. “Sound can go anywhere. I don’t think the (noise) barriers will work.”

He said he also worries about an increase in traffic noise outside the project, more trash and debris in his yard, and air pollution from the go-karts in addition to noise pollution.

“I won’t be making any profits, but I’ll be paying the price if (the project) lowers the value of my property,” he said.

Another neighbor, Olaf Brakstra, also worried about noise and traffic, as well as such a park being a bad influence on youngsters.

“We already have a problem with (obesity) among children.... Do we want an amusement park with sedentary rides and attractions, and most likely lots of candy?” he said.

Also, the park would result in cutting down more trees, and “The wilderness areas around us are shrinking at an alarming rate,” Brakstra said.

Rebecca Wilson and Kirby Knave, officials at Kitsap Mental Health Services, just to the north of the planned project, said the park will be a distraction for mentally and emotionally challenged youth staying at the clinic.

The Fergusons’ project calls for a two-building recreation center with an additional utility building totaling 32,814 square feet on a 4.9-acre parcel.

The center would include miniature golf, go-karts, bumper boats, and batting cages outdoors, with a video arcade, laser tag, and miniature golf for children indoors.

Mr. Ferguson alleges county misunderstandings, mistakes and delays have cost him time and money. Despite delays, the county’s overall assessment was positive.

The land owner is Three Hundred Five Associates, also of Bremerton. Castle Golf Inc. is designing the center.

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