Decision on Fairgrounds developer due Monday

The board charged with selecting a Fairgrounds developer is seeking a company with local ties and a track record of green construction and public involvement.

The committee has narrowed the field to two landscape architecture firms — Tacoma-based AHBL Inc. and MacLeod Reckord, which has offices in Kingston and Seattle. It will make a final selection Monday, April 22.

“We are looking for a team with strong design skills that can deal with a variety of projects, ball fields, fair facilities, building remodels and community amenities. We’re also looking for a firm that can deal with complex net of interest groups,” said Joseph Coppo, the lead planner for Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Department.

MacLeod Reckord helped the county develop the Fairgrounds, Anderson Landing and Old Mill site master plans.

Partner Terry Reckord said the firm’s familiarity with the project and the user groups made it a strong candidate.

“The people who live in the neighborhood are concerned about the uses, and people are concerned about Barker Creek. There are a lot of site challenges,” Reckord said.

Duane Dietz, senior landscape architect for AHBL, emphasized his firm’s experience in green construction and managing public input.

“A lot of what we try to do is bring everyone to the table. We lay it out so they can understand all the viewpoints, so they can become more compassionate,” Dietz said.

AHBL’s previous projects have included Black Hills High School in Tumwater, the Canyon Park industrial complex in Bothell and Fred Meyer shopping centers in various Northwest locations. The company currently is developing Homestead Park in Gig Harbor.

The county Parks and Recreation Department has $5.2 million for Fairgrounds improvements, including a $4.2 million sales tax rebate awarded by the Kitsap County Public Facilities District (PFD).

Parks planners hope to cover the equestrian arena, install rubberized flooring in the Pavilion, build trails and construct new ball fields. To qualify for the PFD money, construction must begin by Dec. 31.

Coppo said 17 groups applied for the Fairgrounds improvement contract.

Who's who?

Members of the committee picking a developer for county Public Facilities District-funded improvements to the Fairgrounds are: Cris Gears, director of the Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Department; PFD board member Linda Berry-Maraist; Art Castle of the Kitsap County Home Builders Association; Bror Elmquist, development coordinator for the PFD; Daryl Schruhl of the Kitsap Community Council and a Fairgrounds neighborhood resident; and Joseph Coppo, lead planner for the Parks and Recreation Department.

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