Beyond the Backyard

Scott Gallacher

Get Ready for Spring

Springtime around the Key Peninsula is always beautiful; nature awakens and rebuilds itself as buds begin to bloom.
Something of a different nature will also be budding on the Key Peninsula: the new Gateway Park. You will soon be seeing construction equipment at the property, located just south of Lake Kathryn Village on State Route 302. Many playground components have already arrived. (You can see photos and a short video of the progress at our website, The Key Pen Parks board of directors voted at their June 2016 meeting to begin Phase 1 construction of Gateway Park right away. As it so often happens, there was some delay in obtaining permits. Then, the wettest October since 2003 happened. But, we received 10 bids for the Phase 1 improvements and the board voted at the Dec. 12 meeting to award the contract to Bob Peterson Construction Inc. out of Puyallup. Even with the earlier permit and weather delays—and barring any further delays—we expect to have a grand opening celebration for Phase 1 by the end of September 2017. That is a mere six short months away. Phase 1 includes a playground, pavilion, restrooms, parking, ingress/egress and a new trailhead to 360 Trails. Phase 2 is being done with Phase 1, and calls for moving and regrading native soil in the area to build a large, multipurpose field. We are grateful to Gig Harbor Rotary for stepping in with $20,000 and volunteers to assist in building the pavilion. The Key Peninsula Parks & Recreation Foundation is seeking additional businesses, organizations and individuals who may be interested in making tax-deductible contributions toward the pavilion to add unique and artistic building features, like corbels, ironwork or stonework, to enhance the character of the structure. With the pieces falling into place for Phases 1 and 2, we are moving forward with trying to obtain funding for Gateway Park Phase 3 construction. This includes a grass amphitheater, an additional shelter that can also serve as a stage, and a splash pad. In 2016, we applied for a Wildlife and Recreation Program grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Our Phase 3 application ranked 44 out of 77 and unfortunately just missed the threshold for funding. We will continue to press forward with trying to acquire funding for Phase 3 improvements, but we also look forward to some new activities and new attractions to engage the citizens of the Key Peninsula in 2017. Coming up April 2 is the family-friendly 360 Trails Poker Pedal fundraiser for trail development and maintenance at this popular property. The Pet Easter Treat Hunt is April 8 at Volunteer Park. Be sure to check out our ad in this issue and see more of what is planned this spring and summer. Parks Appreciation Day is coming up Saturday, April 22, from 9 to noon. This is a time where Key Peninsula families and friends of all ages and abilities can come out to a local park, rain or shine, and do a little something to celebrate Earth Day. Bring your gloves, loppers, rakes and smiles and help our tiny staff get ready for the busy season ahead. More information on locations and needs can be found on our website at