Campaign to Protect Bainbridge Isl. Site (WA)
Bainbridge Island, WA, 3/30/04: On March 30, 1942, during the early days of World War II, 227 men, women, and children of Japanese descent – two thirds of them US citizens – were forcibly removed from their homes by US Army soldiers and assembled at the Eagledale ferry dock on Bainbridge Island. There they boarded a ferry and were eventually exiled to the Manzanar internment camp in California, becoming the first of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans to be removed from the West Coast.
A commemorative event will be held to honor survivors and to unveil plans for a proposed national memorial at the site of the former Eagledale ferry dock where this dark moment in the history of American civil rights began. Guest speakers include Ralph Munro, former Secretary of State for Washington State, Frank Kitamoto, president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community who as a child was one of the original 227 Bainbridge internees, and Frank Pritchard, son of the late Joel Pritchard for whom the park will be named.
A group of conservation and community groups will also announce a campaign to raise $5.5 million in private donations to protect the 50-acre site adjacent to where the Eageldale ferry dock once stood and to build the memorial.
|Site of future Pritchard Park|
Photo by: Ryan Schierling
Memorial development will cost $4 million – $3.5 million of which is needed from private donors. The Bainbridge Island WWII Nikkei Internment & Exclusion Memorial Committee has already raised $25,000 in private donations and secured a $500,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development.
The 50-acre parcel is located along the southern side of Eagle Harbor and includes nearly a mile of waterfront, restored sandy beach, and spectacular views of Puget Sound, Seattle, the Cascades, and Olympics, and Mount Rainier. Although a portion of the site is contaminated and undergoing environmental clean-up, the majority of the property – including the location of the planned memorial – is free of contaminants and could be sold for development.
The Trust for Public Land is working with the Bainbridge Island Land Trust to acquire the property while the Bainbridge Island WWII Nikkei Internment & Exclusion Memorial Committee works to develop the memorial.
The western portion of the property would be available for the expansion of the memorial as well as a contemplative garden, visitor’s center, and parking. The remainder of the property would become a new waterfront park named for the late Joel Pritchard, who represented Bainbridge Island in Congress for several years before returning to the state capital as lieutenant governor.
“Joel would have been very honored to have this beautiful new park named after him,” said Frank Pritchard, son of the late Joel Pritchard. “He was always an advocate for environmental causes and this park is a wonderful way to commemorate his service.”
“Our US Constitution and Bill of Rights are fragile documents whose strength comes from the courage and will of the people to do the right thing,” said Clarence Moriwaki, chair of the Bainbridge Island WWII Nikkei Internment and Exclusion Memorial Committee. “The most important lesson we hope everyone will learn from this dark moment in American history is stated in the name our proposed national memorial, Nidoto Nai Yoni, which means ‘let it not happen again.'”
Friends of Pritchard Park is a broad-based community effort to acquire and protect the 50-acre Pritchard Park property for use as a new waterfront park and a national memorial to the internment of the island’s Japanese-American residents during World War II. For more information visit www.pritchardpark.org.
Bainbridge Island WWII Nikkei Internment & Exclusion Memorial Committee is working to build a lasting memorial to honor and remember the first Japanese Americans sent to concentration camps in World War II. It is comprised of members of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community, the Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap Interfaith Council and leaders from several civic and community organizations. For more information visit www.bijac.org or call (206) 855-9038.
The Bainbridge Island Land Trust is a community based, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization formed to protect and preserve the land, beaches, forests, wetlands, and farmland of Bainbridge Island for future generations. The membership is led by a board of local citizens responsible for the Trust’s operation. For more information, please visit www.bi-landtrust.org or call (206) 842-1216.
The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.5 million acres of land in 46 states. In Washington, TPL has protected more than 47,000 acres. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve land for people mission. For more information about TPL, please call (206) 587-2447.