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Unocal Park Gets Initial Approval

Unocal park gets initial approval

A brown fence covers the site where the Unocal gas station formerly stood at the entrance to downtown Winslow. - Richard D. Oxley

A brown fence covers the site where the Unocal gas station formerly stood at the entrance to downtown Winslow.

Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
FEBRUARY 2, 2012 · 5:12 PM

The Unocal park project received a thumbs up Wednesday from council, which unanimously approved the volunteer group to begin planning the park.

“This was an unanimous green light to proceed with the public design process,” said Bruce Weiland of the Citizen’s Park Task Force, a group formed to convert the patch of land into a park.

The park won’t cost the city any money and will be financed entirely from private donations. Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park and Recreation District has also agreed to oversee the maintenance and care of the park.

The group wants islanders to offer input as to how the park will look , at least within certain perameters such as size and environment.

After planning is complete, the group will bring the plan before council and the Kitsap Transit Board for further approval. It will be a process over the coming year obtaining approval and permits.

“Our hope is that we will be able to break ground in September and have a ribbon-cutting in October,” Weiland said, adding that the timeframe is a very rough estimate.

The site, which sits at the entrance to the city from the ferry terminal, has been vacant for 20 years after the Unocal oil company shut down operations. The land is now co-owned by the city and Kitsap Transit.

There has been considerable pollution from petroleum-based products from its years of use as a gas station.

Weiland assured council that there should be no risks and that the Department of Ecology had no objection to a park at that location.

According to Weiland, previous work on the land has replaced much of the top- soil, leaving the problems of pollution approximately 12 feet down.

“We’ve said from day one that we are not going to do this unless it is environmentally responsible,” Weiland said.

The group will hold a planning meeting Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Bainbridge Commons. For more information, call Jim Chapel at 206-842-2093.

Contact Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer Richard D. Oxley at or 206-842-6613.


Council backs plan to improve prominent corner by Bainbridge ferry

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — The plan to beautify a barren patch of ground at the island’s most prominent intersection received the City Council’s greenlight Wednesday.

The former Unocal gas station site will now undergo a public design and planning process aimed at transforming it into a park by November.

The 1-acre, fenced site at the Winslow Way-Highway 305 intersection is seen by most people who use the island’s ferry or enter Winslow from the highway.

“This is both a crossroad for Bainbridge Island and a gateway for the entire Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas,” said Bruce Weiland, a member of the Bainbridge Island Park Task Force, which floated the park idea in June. “To put it bluntly, it’s a source embarrassment. We want make it a point of pride.”

The site has sat unused since the gas station closed in 1989, leaving behind ground contaminants that limit redevelopment.

The 60-member task force has promised to fully fund the project’s estimated $300,000 budget with private donations. They plan to install plants, a foot path and benches under the guidance of prominent landscape architect Johnpaul Jones. The Bainbridge park district has agreed to maintain the park.

The council’s unanimous consent was applauded by a large contingent of supporters packing City Hall.

“It’s a fabulous idea,” said Councilwoman Kirsten Hytopoulos, who called the site’s current state an “eyesore.”
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