Legislative Boost for Planning

The leadership of Representatives Lynn Kessler (D-Hoquiam) and Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim), as well as Senator Jim Hargrove, and advocacy from the Fort Worden Advisory Committee, led to $465,000 being earmarked in the state legislature’s 2007-09 budget to complete the long-range planning process for Fort Worden State Park.

In January, after a public process, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission approved a conceptual plan to transform Fort Worden State Park into a center for life-long learning.

The goal is to turn Fort Worden into a place dedicated to discovery, retreat, and renewal. Funding secured by 24th District legislators will provide for architectural and site design, business and operations implementation, and site and facilities use plans.

“These funds represent a commitment to change that will be of enormous benefit to peninsula residents as well as visitors from around the region,” Fort Worden Area Manager Kate Burke said.

Funding to complete the planning process for Fort Worden was not included in Washington State Parks’ initial request to the Governor, so members of the Fort Worden Advisory Committee, as well as individuals interested in the future of the Park, traveled to Olympia to lobby legislators.

“Centrum, the Marine Science Center, Peninsula College, Copper Canyon Press and all the other institutions providing year-round educational programs at Fort Worden are remarkable assets in our district. We are thrilled to support the evolution of this truly innovative partnership,” said Kessler, the House Majority Leader.

Van De Wege concurred. “I have attended Centrum programs and enjoyed countless visits to Fort Worden State Park,” he said. “I am delighted that so many thoughtful citizens have been involved in good planning for and stewardship of this extraordinary resource.”

Jim Hargrove, Senator from Hoquiam was also critical to securing support. He said that that careful planning is a prerequisite for smart capital expenditure.

Burke added that there was a great deal to accomplish in the months ahead. ”We are so grateful for the support of a terrific legislative team,” she said, “as well as all the community advocates who have helped us to think bigger and smarter about what is possible.”