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Library belongs on CK Campus
In the summer of 1992, my daughter Lindsay was 8 years old. That summer, she and her friends enjoyed swimming in an outdoor pool. At the time, the only outdoor swimming pool that was open to the public in our area was a small, backyard pool located near Keyport. The pool’s owner charged admission for its use. It was always way overcrowded and there were no lifeguards or other safety precautions. As a father, I would sit there watching Lindsay and her friends with a knot in my stomach anticipating some serious accident.
In June 1992, my family and I traveled to Naperville, Illinois, to visit my in-laws. While we were there, we visited a wonderful public swimming pool and water park. The place was packed and everyone was having a great time. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great to have something like this in Silverdale?”
At that same time, I thought about how it would be great to locate this pool adjacent to a new library as well as a community and recreation center for Silverdale. That trip to the water park led to my 16 year involvement in the creation of the Central Kitsap Community Campus.
During the past 10 years, Kitsap County acquired the additional land required for the campus and the YMCA and its pool were built. When the work of the Central Kitsap Community Campus task force began, it was the overwhelming consensus that the first priority project for the campus would be a new branch of the Kitsap Regional Library for Silverdale.
KRL and our community are now faced with the decision of where to locate a new library. Although the evidence suggests that the majority of our community would prefer to see our new library built on the campus, KRL is considering other locations in addition to the campus. This site selection will be critical to the success of this fundraising campaign.
Here are the reasons why the new KRL branch should be built on the Central Kitsap Community Campus.
• Placing the library on the campus will be extraordinarily beneficial to our children, parents and families. By placing the library on the campus, it can become a “Safe Haven” for our children who are not yet eligible to drive. Having the library located next to the YMCA will create a place where many of our children can be dropped off by their parents and, then, remain engaged in healthy and productive pursuits for hours at a time.
The vision for the campus has always been that it would be the core gathering place for our community not unlike the city plazas that can be found in many European communities. Those who have been involved in the development of the campus are committed to the continued growth and improvement of the campus. This commitment includes developing more parking adjacent to but off the campus so that the campus common can be enlarged to the original vision of a park-like setting.
• By locating on the campus, KRL can reasonably expect that its neighbors will be compatible organizations.
Placing the library on the campus would substantially reduce traffic in Silverdale. Members of our community can reach two destinations, the library and the YMCA, with one trip rather than two.
Additionally, the campus has excellent access to public transportation.
• The campus location for the Silverdale library will promote its increased use which, in turn, could lead to greater public and taxpayer support for KRL.
• The county would provide unmatched stability for the required long term lease of land to KRL. Because the county and KRL are both governmental entities that serve the same constituency -- the citizens of Kitsap County -- there is no potential for a conflict of interest that there might be with another landlord whose value system may not be consistent with our community. Both Kitsap County and KRL exist to serve the residents of our community.
At the March 20 meeting of the Central Kitsap Community Council, KRL committed to an open decision making process. They agreed to make public all of the data that they will use to make their placement decision and to make it available in an easily understandable comparison format. They also agreed to hold open forums after making this information available and prior to making any decision. I urge KRL to honor their commitment to this open process.
If you agree that the new KRL Silverdale branch should be built on the campus, please urge the KRL Board of Trustees to make that happen. Communicate with the KRL Board by writing to: Board of Trustees, Kitsap Regional Library, 1301 Sylvan Way, Bremerton, WA, 98310.
You can also communicate with the KRL board via email to the board’s executive assistant Tammy Jeffries at email@example.com.
Rob MacDermid is a long time Central Kitsap resident and attorney who will be writing occasionally about things that matters to the Central Kitsap community. He is a member of the Central Kitsap Community Council and the Silverdale Noon Lions Club. You can reach him via Facebook at Rob MacDermid.