Riparian habitat, ball field priorities for 2009


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PJ Kezele, KP News

For Key Peninsula Metro Park District, 2009 will be a year of holding up their end of the bargain. Two major projects funded by grants will dominate capital improvement projects for Key Pen Parks in 2009—Minter Creek Phase 1 and Volunteer Park Field No.1 Renovation. Both projects are partially funded by matching funds grants that obligate the district to complete the work in 2009.

The Minter Creek Phase 1 project includes acquisition of eight protected acres for riparian protection. The riparian wetlands are significant to the creek, as the plant life has an influence on the aquatic ecosystem.

A matching grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition in the amount of  $120,000 is expected to fund the project.

“The property at Minter Creek is a unique, valuable piece of land that will serve many different purposes for the Key Peninsula community,” Executive Director Scott Gallacher said. “By acquiring this property, our goals are to provide public access to water, protect habitation and offer opportunities for environmental education.”

The district has been making payments since mid-2008 to purchase the property.

The purpose of the acquisition is to increase public access to a prime fishing ground for local and visiting recreational anglers. Minter Creek is a popular chum fishery and attracts anglers from around the state. The public water access would also serve as a canoe and kayak launching spot and water trail trailhead. The acquisition will also preserve the pristine estuarine, riparian and upland habitat surrounding Minter Creek, help prevent habitat degradation from residential development and maintain the ecological balance of the site. Opportunities for education and existing trail connectivity are additional benefits.

“It is our goal to respond in a way that will meet those needs, yet preserve the integrity of the property in order to create a vibrant, livable area where both nature and people can thrive,” Gallacher said.

The second major project, the Volunteer Park Field No. 1 Renovation, is being partially funded by a Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office Youth Athletic Facilities Grant. In conjunction with Key Pen Parks, the Key Peninsula Little League will use the $75,000 grant to renovate Field No. 1 in Volunteer Park. The field was built on clay without any subsurface drainage, which has caused flooding problems that have damaged the field and led to the need for a retaining wall to protect the field from further damage. Work will include installing an automated irrigation system, new backstop fencing and the retaining wall, and increasing and improving access from the parking area to the field for people with disabilities.

“This field is the only high school regulation baseball field, as well as the only lit playfield, on the Key Peninsula,” Gallacher said.

Key Pen Parks and the Little League will contribute $112,860 in labor, cash and donations of cash, equipment and labor to the project.