Beyond the Backyard

Scott Gallacher

News from Key Pen Parks

This year began on a great note for Key Pen Parks with the passing of our audit at the end of December. For those of you unfamiliar with audits, this is a multi-day process of reviewing all financial statements, policies and other business practices and documents by the Washington State Auditor’s Office.

Our auditor said there were “no findings, exceptions or notes,” which is very good. This means Key Pen Parks is conducting business in a lawful and ethical manner consistent with high standards.

With the audit complete, we were able to focus our attention on a more exciting project: The new Gateway Park.

Key Pen Parks strategically purchased the 39-acre Gateway Park property in 2012 because of its relatively flat terrain and its ability to provide better public access to 360 Trails. It also meets a strong need to have a developed park in the Key Peninsula’s most densely-populated north area.

Since the land acquisition was finalized, ample feedback on the future of Gateway Park was collected from local citizens through public workshops, emails and phone calls. We also queried attendees of KeyFest and the KP Farm Tour. Key Pen Parks and our board of directors felt it was critical that the public have opportunities to let their desires be heard.

Ideas from the feedback were developed into three conceptual drawings which were presented at the last public workshop Dec. 6. More than 50 people attended to view the three concepts, which included features like a playground, splash pad, athletic fields, multi-use buildings and an equine arena. Attendees were then given the opportunity to discuss these concepts in smaller groups.

Park design landscape architect, Robert Droll, and I then analyzed and have applied the additional feedback from the final public workshop into a “Concept D.” This final concept will be presented to the public at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, March 4, at Minter Creek Elementary School.

During the presentation, Droll will discuss the technical background of the design, the future possibilities, and what the public can expect in terms of construction phases and timelines. For example, phase one will likely include improving access from State Route 302, parking and restroom facilities. We will also touch on how the environment and site constraints play a role in the current design and potential future adjustments.

The name “Gateway Park” reflects the future this park will have as a gateway to the Key Peninsula and a showcase of our wonderful community. It will be a destination to be enjoyed by multiple interests and multiple generations.

This is an exciting time for Key Peninsula and the greater Gig Harbor area. We hope to see you on March 4.

Next month: Are you looking for an Earth Day project? Parks Appreciation Day is April 25. I’ll tell you about it – and how you and your family can make this event an annual tradition.

Scott Gallacher is the Key Pen Parks executive director and can be reached at