Committee delays decision on Fairgrounds developer

Although members spent hours interviewing prospective developers, a committee tasked with picking a developer for the Fairgrounds delayed its decision.

“We’re pretty darn close,” Cris Gears, director of the Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Department, told the county Public Facilities District board April 22.

The committee tabbed two finalists from 17 applicants — landscape architecture firms AHBL Inc. of Tacoma and MacLeod Reckord of Kingston and Seattle.

AHBL’s projects include Black Hills High School in Tumwater and Fred Meyer shopping centers in various Northwest locations. MacLeod Reckord has helped develop the Fairgrounds, Anderson Landing and Old Mill site master plans.

The six-member committee — composed of county officials, PFD board members and community members — was scheduled to make a decision April 22. But committee members wanted more time to conduct interviews and study firms that have partnered with the finalists.

Gears estimated the group would have its decision by the end of this week.

“MacLeod Reckord has deeper roots in the county than the other firms, and everything else being equal we’d like to stay in-house,” Gears said. “But the bottom line is, we haven’t resolved it, slam dunk.”

The 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).

Proposed improvements include covering the equestrian arena, installing rubberized flooring in the Pavilion, building pedestrian paths and constructing new ball fields.

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