At a recent mayoral candidates’ forum, Mayor Guernsey was asked about the cost over-runs for the proposed Ancich Park development. Apparently, the bids came in $3 million dollars over the projected expense. Mayor Guernsey reported to the audience that the additional expense was partially due to the need to dig out under the road to accommodate a larger building, and blamed this need to build under the road on Gig Harbor citizens protesting the size of the structure. This is entirely untrue. Nearby residents protested the size of the building because it would take up all of the greenspace in that park and would obscure the view of the Ancich Netshed which was supposed to be the centerpiece of the development. While residents tried for months to contain the size of the structure, the Kayak Club had four 38-foot kayaks that “necessitated” a 3,000-square foot building. This recreation center, you may remember, was being developed to provide a permanent home for the Kayak Club, though the City denied that they were using taxpayer dollars for that purpose all along the way.
Mayor Guernsey’s assertion that the idea of building under the road came from neighboring citizens is the opposite of what really occurred.
We thought that idea was ludicrous and posed a dangerous risk to Harborview Drive -- the City’s main road through town It was councilmembers who wanted the option to build under the road. Mayor Guernsey’s attempt to put blame on the citizens for her poor judgment and management is a scapegoat intended to deflect responsibility for this over-sized cement project on Gig Harbor’s beautiful waterfront.
The low bid for this project was $6.75 million dollars and does not include the nearly $1 million dollars in design costs already spent.
- Do you think the design for this recreation center fits in with the historical character of Gig Harbor’s shoreline?
- And do you think the project should go forward when the bid is nearly double what the City anticipated?
They need to realize their miscalculations and put this project on hold. Gig Harbor citizens are going to flip-out when Harborview Drive is closed to traffic to build this project, especially amidst an explosion of housing development up on Peacock Hill and Burnham Drive. Our City is not managing growth and we are just beginning to feel the consequences.
Community opposition to the project questioned the over-sized building, no on-site parking, absence of commercial fishing moorage (originally intended for the site located within the "Working Waterfront Designation"), and dedicated use primarily earmarked for a private Kayak Club.