Opinion

The gift that will keep on giving

Joanne Haselwood pledged $2.5 million to help build the new YMCA in Silverdale which will anchor the Central Kitsap Community Campus project. This momentous gift is the largest ever for a single project in Kitsap County. The new YMCA will be named the “Haselwood Family YMCA” to honor Joanne’s late husband Chuck, a longtime Kitsap businessman and philanthropist.

The Haselwood gift is in addition to the $1 million pledged to the Silverdale YMCA project from Ron and Nadean Ross. Kitsap County has contributed $1 million of capital funds for the YMCA and the project received $800,000 in a competitive grant from the state of Washington. The goal is to break ground on the YMCA next year, with the facility opening to serve our community in 2011. Depending on the amount of monies raised, the YMCA will be 50,000-70,000-square feet in size and serve more than 15,000 people.

This is an exciting time for Silverdale and Kitsap County. Years of community involvement, planning and dreaming of the Central Kitsap Community Campus is moving forward with the YMCA as part of Phase 1. Phase 2 of the Community Campus project may include a library and senior housing amenities. Kitsap County has already signed an agreement with the Kitsap Regional Library to eventually relocate a new, expanded branch of the Silverdale Library as part of the Campus when financing is secured. The Kitsap County Commis-sioners are reviewing different options to develop new affordable housing projects as well.

When I share information about the Haselwood Family YMCA project in Silverdale, people respond with excitement and energy. I truly believe this project will have a transformational impact on our community — that people won’t quite remember what life was like before the YMCA was built. The benefits of serving the projected 15,000 members are important. But, even greater is the role the YMCA will play in serving those of moderate means and building a stronger sense of community in Silverdale.

The agreement between the YMCA and Kitsap County guarantees every Friday night the facility will be open for free to all adolescents, providing a safe hub for kids looking for a place to go. In addition, the YMCA has pledged to contribute at least 10 percent of revenues to scholarships to provide opportunities for our entire community. A single parent with kids who is struggling to make ends meet or a disabled senior living on a fixed income will be among those benefiting from the scholarship program that helps to ensure an inclusive environment.

Waaga Way Extension road

officially named

Last month, the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners officially recognized the new Waaga Way Extension road as NW Greaves Way. This $13 million roadway, under construction since 2008, will offer congestion relief for downtown Silverdale by providing an alternate route for west side residents to access Highways 3 and 303. Additionally, this roadway will act as a catalyst for economic development by providing key infrastructure to 450 acres of commercial- and business-zoned lands. A colossal thank you goes to the Central Kitsap Community Council and Central Kitsap Reporter for sponsoring an extensive public search for road name nominees. More than 170 entries were submitted and contest judges narrowed them down to three recommendations.

The Greaves family has an extensive history in the Silverdale area, spanning more than 100 years. During this time, the Greaves family has played an essential role in local government and economic growth of the Silverdale community. NW Greaves Way will be completed by the end of the year.

Kitsap County Fair & Stampede nearing

Put on your cowboy hat and get ready for the award-winning Kitsap County Fair & Stampede!

I am pleased to announce this event will return to the Kitsap County Fairgrounds Aug. 26-30. This year’s theme is “Cowboy Boots & Country Roots” and includes several exciting events such as the stampede, Xtreme Bulls rodeo, music entertainment, exhibits, carnival rides, animals and much, much more! For event details, visit: www.kitsapgov.com/parks/fair_stampede.htm.

Josh Brown is the Central Kitsap Commissioner.

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