First Purchase for Pritchard Park Completed (WA)
Bainbridge Island, WA, 12/2/2004 – The City of Bainbridge Island and the Bainbridge Island Parks and Recreation District, in partnership with the Trust for Public Land, the Bainbridge Island Land Trust, and the Bainbridge Island WWII Nikkei Internment & Exclusion Memorial Committee, celebrated the purchase of 22.5 acres of the former Wyckoff site for use as a new waterfront park and memorial. A portion of the property will be incorporated into the proposed Bainbridge Island WWII Nikkei Internment & Exclusion Memorial along Taylor Avenue while the remainder will become a new public park, to be named after the late Joel Pritchard, who represented the Island in Congress for 12 years before becoming Lieutenant Governor. Efforts are now underway to protect an additional 27.5 acres that would complete the park.
The property is located along the southern side of Eagle Harbor and includes significant waterfront, restored sandy beach, and spectacular views of Puget Sound, Seattle, the Cascades, Olympics, and Mount Rainier. Although approximately eight acres of the site is contaminated and undergoing environmental clean-up, the majority of the property – including the location of the planned memorial – is clean and safe for public use.
The $4.9 million purchase price for the western part of the property was garnered from federal, state, county, and city grants and funds as well as private donations. Project proponents, who have formed a group called the Friends of Pritchard Park, are working toward raising an additional $3.1 million to purchase the remaining 27.5 acres, including nearly a quarter mile of waterfront. The Friends of Pritchard Park are very pleased to announce that the first $500,000 toward this goal has been secured through a federal grant that was championed by Senator Patty Murray.
The new park will provide nature trails, a restored beach, and access to Eagle Harbor for swimmers, beachcombers, and kayakers. The western portion of the site lies adjacent to the Taylor Avenue road-end, site of the former Eagledale Ferry Terminal.
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. 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.
Members of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American community and others have been working to build a memorial at the end of Taylor Avenue. Approximately seven acres of the new park will be incorporated in the Memorial design to provide for a visitors center and a contemplative garden. Pedestrian trails will link the Memorial and other parts of the park. Memorial development will cost $4 million – $3.5 million of which is needed from private donors.
Darlene Kordonowy, Mayor of Bainbridge Island, said, “the 50-acre site represents a number of chapters of our island-city’s history, none more significant then the internment of island citizens and residents during World War II. Now, thanks to the hard work of these partners, the first phase of this property will be purchased and this story told. And in the coming year, we will turn our attention to acquiring the rest of the property and starting to build the Memorial.”
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 internment 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 1.9 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 visit www.tpl.org or call (206) 587-2447.