True vision for Ancich Park isn’t being achieved
I read an article in your opinion section about the plan for Ancich Park in the Millville neighborhood (Guest Commentary, July 7).
I would like to set the record straight.
The primary purpose of Ancich Park is not to meet the lack of other area parks’ deficiencies. Rather, in the RCO grant list of Priorities, Resolution 949, states, the first priority of this park is to act as a historic, maritime working boat park, lower on the listed intent on the Grant proposal and resolution 949 plan is to include public human-powered boaters.
This park is located in the designated historic, working boat district of Gig Harbor. For a better explanation of the beginning planning for this park, please see July 1, 2015 article in the Gateway, “Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Team exploring alternative locations around Pierce County.” This article discusses the beginning conversations about this park and the discussions regarding the purpose of the park. This article also sheds light on the funding potential for the park. It is misleading to not include this park’s primary purpose, and to suggest that the foremost purpose of the park is to fill in the gaps of other parks, and suggest that it is mainly for human-powered watercraft.
In the current plan, which is for a large, 2,800-square-foot building, the public will have a small portion of the building for human-powered boat storage, and the private kayak club has elicited the main portion of the building. This group offers kayak training and collects a monthly fee for youth and adults to participate, along with additional fees for summer camps. The kayak club has stated that it needs between 1,500 square feet of the building for private storage, which is 54 percent of the building storage, leaving only 16 percent of the storage for the general public. The rest of the building will be for restrooms and a small amount for other private clubs.
The opinion column also included information regarding recreational programming for youth in the Tacoma parks versus Gig Harbor parks. There is a huge difference between providing use of the parks, such as the parks in Tacoma, and providing 70 percent of a park storage building and making a private home for recreational, nonprofit groups, such as included in this plan, for Ancich Park. At this point, all the needs of other clubs in Gig Harbor have not been attempted to be met, due to the fact that the city wishes to have some room available for the general public, and there is little space left without making the building even larger. The amount of property on the park grounds is minimum, and the building size at this point is 1,000 square feet larger than the open green space that surrounds it between two driveways and a stairway.
One last misrepresentation: “The small vocal group,” which was identified in the article that is “not surprisingly” opposing the city plan, first of all is not really small. They are the increasing group of land owners who live in this district and other members of the public, who are just now finding out what is in store for this property. Some of these citizens had not been properly notified or did not have a previous opportunity for input up to this point. They are becoming, aware and educated about what is about to happen in their neighborhood and the city park. The families consist of a mixed combination of landowners who have recently moved into the Millville area and are renovating historic homes and people who have lived in the area for several generations.
The city put up the stakes marking the size for the building on Saturday. Come see for yourself. The building is very big and the public open space is small by comparison. Instead, what the public will gain in this park is a view platform on the roof of the building and a small transition area to the water. Those who can afford monthly club fees will use the majority of the park building and surrounding area.
Mary Ellen Gilmour, Gig Harbor
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