Opinion

Everything Bremerton: A unique opportunity for the citizens of Manette

I will admit it, I am a certified local civic junkie. I do, in fact, spend a portion of my free time either attending local government public meetings in person or watching them on BKAT. I had not realized how addictive civic participation could become.

On April 6, I had just popped dinner into the oven and herded Nick into starting on his homework. I jumped on my elliptical for a quick 30 minute workout while I watched the live stream on BKAT of the Bremerton City Council Meeting.

A public hearing was underway on a small portion of land, located in Manette, currently owned by the local water utility. To the people of Manette, this piece of land has become a valuable open space area used by children over the years for biking, skating and playing. To the city, it is a piece of property they do not need and currently do not gain any tax revenue from. The city would like to surplus the property in a step that would make it available to sell. The people of Manette wish to obtain the property, maintain it and use it well into the future as the park it has become.

As the events of the meeting progressed, I was very happy to see several members of the Manette community, who were in attendance, come forward to testify on this issue. Several council members openly indicated that they were very appreciative of the testimony provided in person as well as reading every single email or letter they had received from constituents. In the end, a final decision was made by Council vote to extend an additional amount of time to the citizens of Manette so they can work out a plan and/or build a collective partnership to purchase the property outright.

This is a very unique opportunity for the citizens of Manette. I encourage these citizens to keep working toward the goal of obtaining the property for themselves and I really hope that they can pull it off.

It would be a perfect solution to a logistical, operational and financial problem that has been around for awhile.

Money from the actual sale of the property would go back to the utility department to be used for utility infrastructure improvements.

Future property taxes paid on the land via the private ownership would add to city revenue. Most importantly, the citizens of Manette would gain a valuable piece of open space that they themselves would control and maintain once and for all.

As for me, I will continue to be happily addicted to my civic participation and may eventually start a 12-step program to get others addicted as well.

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