At a special meeting of the Key Pen Park Board of Commissioners Oct. 31, the commissioners voted unanimously to authorize Executive Director Tracey Perkosky to execute a conditional purchase and sale agreement to acquire property located at 10613-19 Wright Bliss Road NW for its listed price of $999,990, with an anticipated closing date of Feb. 29, 2024.
The approximately 15-acre parcel sits just north of a narrow parcel KP Parks already owns and uses for parking and access to Key Central Forest. The acreage, once the site of a small lavender farm, includes three single-family dwellings currently under lease and some small outbuildings.
Key Peninsula Metropolitan Park District Commissioner and board chair Linda Parry said that the purchase of this property connected to Key Central Forest would allow greater public access.
“The individual dwellings are each leased to tenants and those leases will continue until their term expires,” Parry said. “Our plan is not to become rental owners or landlords.”
The district attempted to purchase the same parcel several years ago and thought it struck a deal when park commissioners approved the purchase and sale agreement. But the owner delayed several days, after which Key Pen Parks learned the parcel was sold to somebody else, much to the disappointment of the park board.
When the parcel recently came back on the market Key Pen Parks went straight into action.
“We have a (conditional) purchase and sale agreement in place and right now we’re in a 60-day feasibility study period,” Perkosky said. “There are a couple of hurdles we have to move through before conditions are cleared and this turns into a final purchase and sale agreement.”
In the meantime, the property remains on the market as the seller, a development company, continues to consider potential backup offers.
Key Pen Parks is going through a Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office-approved appraisal and review process. That appraisal would allow the district to apply for acquisition grants from RCO — the most common funding agency for parks and recreation — after the purchase.
“We have 60 days to get that done and that’s an incredibly short timeline with the holidays coming up,” Perkosky said.
Perkosky noted that if the appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price, the board will have to decide about moving forward. If the appraisal comes in substantially lower than the purchase price, the seller will have the opportunity not to accept the park board’s offer.
During this feasibility period, there will also be inspections of the well and water quality as well as a meeting with a home inspector to identify any concerns.
The current property owner also did a timber harvest on the property. Another condition of the purchase and sale agreement is that the seller completes the replanting required as part of the Forest Practices Application approved by the DNR.
“We are looking for those requirements to be fulfilled before we assume that responsibility,” Perkosky said. She noted DNR requirements do not include removing the slash.
What vision park commissioners have for the property remains to be seen.
Perkosky said the board has not had extensive conversations about its vision for the 15 acres. Some of the preliminary conversations concerned more parking to provide better access for Key Central Forest as well as a possible playground.
She also anticipated a discussion about a new restroom facility since the property has water and septic.
“We’re really in just the beginning stages of that vision, how we would fund it or even how that might impact other capital projects or other land acquisitions or ongoing maintenance needs,” Perkosky said. One of the things the board will be working on is a formal, stand-alone capital facilities plan that will help guide the future.
“Once we get through that capital facilities plan and work on the vision, not only for Key Central Forest but certainly all of our other park properties as well, we’re going to see what that future looks like,” Perkosky said. “We either own or maintain 1,300 acres of land here on the Key Peninsula on a tiny budget.”
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