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Four pitch proposals to facilities district
"The proposals have been pitched and the Kitsap County Public Facilities District (PFD) now faces the awesome task of deciding which plan to fund while operating under a tight deadline.One of the biggest questions PFD board members must weigh is whether to build a facility which would primarily benefit businesses - like the conference centers proposed by McCormick Land Co., the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce and the city of Bremerton - or to fund improvements that would benefit mostly local residents - like the Fairgrounds improvements proposed by the Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Department.Those four groups hope to be recipients of the fledgling PFD's first project. The district is eligible to receive a refund of .033 percent of the state portion of the sales tax. The refund is available to build facilities that serve a regional population, cost at least $10 million, and which are in construction before 2003. Local groups or agencies must match one third of the total cost of the project to be eligible.The PFD board will decide which proposal to fund by Sept. 24.In earlier meetings, Kitsap County residents repeatedly raised the need for improved sports facilities. That need was addressed by the Fairgrounds proposal. The county needs $11 million to improve existing Fairgrounds facilities and to introduce a unified theme to the campus, Joseph Coppo, open space coordinator for the Parks and Recreation Department, told the PFD board Monday, July 16. The Pavilion would be converted into an indoor sports facility with rubberized flooring suitable for basketball and soccer. Rooms for small meetings would be added to the Pavilion and the President's Hall. Thunderbird Stadium would be outfitted with artificial turf for year-round sporting events (it would be covered with dirt for the Stampede Rodeo) and a new outdoor stage would be built. Two miles of paved walking and biking trails would be added.The PFD would provide $9 million and the county would contribute $2 million in Fairgrounds surcharge fund revenues. The county also would donate 129 acres of Fairgrounds land to satisfy the one-third local match requirement.Three other proposals presented to the PFD board aim to draw people and dollars to the area for conferences.Mayor Lynn Horton called for funding a 20,000-25,000 square foot conference center, located on Sinclair Inlet, immediately north of the Bremerton Transportation Center. The facility would cost $10,754,700, with the PFD contributing $7 million and the city contributing land valued at $2 million. Kitsap Transit would add $800,000 in grant funds to clean up underground oil tanks, which is necessary to commence construction.Overall, this is the kind of project we've all been hoping for, and we've assembled the team to do it, Horton said.The conference center would be part of a larger downtown construction project which would include condos, a hotel and a restaurant.The only private business represented, McCormick Land Co., proposed building a conference center at the public McCormick Woods Golf Course near Port Orchard. The facility would cost $14.2 million, with the PFD contributing $9.5 million and the company adding $4.7 million from a buffet of funding sources, said Doug Skrobut, vice president of McCormick Land.The Silverdale Chamber of Commerce proposed a 24,000-square-foot conference center on vacant land between the Sandpiper restaurant and the Clear Creek estuary.Although they didn't have a firm cost, chamber Executive Director Sam Granato estimated the project would cost at least $10 million. The local match would consist of the land contributed (currently the Old Mill site), construction of a safe pedestrian crossing at Bucklin Hill Road and other land improvements, but Granato stressed the figures represented rough estimates. "