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Facilities district doles out $647,500 for three projects

Kitsap Public Facilities District board members awarded $647,500 this week for projects in Bremerton, Silverdale and Poulsbo.

The evening’s big winner was the city of Bremerton, which was awarded $400,000 to expand the Kitsap Conference Center in the downtown Harborside District.

The board also awarded $70,000 for improvements to Lobe Field in Silverdale and $30,000 to cover the cost of a newly installed press box at Gordon Field. Lastly, the board awarded $132,000 for stormwater improvements at the North Kitsap Regional Events Center and $15,500 for improvements to Strawberry Field.

In their request, the City of Bremerton asked for $600,000 to expand the conference center, but Finance Director Becky Hasart and Mayor Patty Lent were pleased with the slightly smaller award and said the project can move forward. The overall estimated budget for the expansion is a little over $1.2 million. The plan calls for converting 7,000 square feet of the unused third floor of Kitsap Transit’s headquarters into five more meeting rooms for conferences, weddings and other events.

“The space up there is just stunning,” said Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin. “It’s got to be the best space in Bremerton.”

Conservative estimates from the expansion call for more than $500,000 in direct gross revenue and an additional 14,000 visitors every year to Bremerton. Work to improve the third-floor space can start as early as this summer and officials hope to be able to have a ribbon cutting prior to November.

In Silverdale, the money awarded for Lobe Field will allow for the installation of a press box behind home plate, a new dugout along the third-base line and the transformation of an existing dugout into a batting cage area. The $30,000 dollar award for Gordon Field will cover the cost of a newly installed press box that was required in order to allow the Pumas soccer team to play games there.

In Poulsbo, the $15,500 award will be used to bring bleachers and other new equipment to Strawberry Field, a popular site that is consistently booked year round. The other award of $132,000 will be used as leverage to gain more grant money to make dramatic stormwater improvements, namely in an unlit, unpaved parking lot adjacent to the field. Kitsap Public Facilities District board members decided not to award any money for a trail improvement request, citing concerns that proposed route went through a residential area and was not tied closely enough to the 82-acre North Kitsap Regional Events Center site.

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