Our ‘C.U.P.’s’ for kids runneth under | Guest Column

I find it gratifying to think how the San Juan Islands have managed to get things done during my 35-plus years as resident and worker.

A lot of the gains we’ve made have been due to the farsighted generosity of people like Paul and Lu Whittier, who matched funds raised by citizens seeking to have better facilities than the Royal Movie theatre for live stage productions… like Island Artisans and Sunshine Gallery who provide art tuition for high school graduates heading for art careers… like the San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild and the Grange who worked as a team for a while, and even after a split, were able to get the Brickworks project going… and finally, the San Juan Island Community Foundation, against some opposition, with Charles Anderson and team in the lead, were able to provide us with the country’s second-most energy efficient hospital here on this island.

It’s too bad that some folks get too vicious in their disputes. Maybe they learn it from watching debates in Washington, D.C. on television.

I dunno. But I do care, if something needed is stalled or junked, and obvious needs are ignored.

As a Lions Club member for over 50 years, 17 in Palo Alto and 35 on San Juan Island, I’ve never seen legalistic logistics make anything proceed any slower than the Carter Avenue Ballfields and Community Park. One of the greatest obstacles to those fields and park being finished and ready for play is its conditional-use permit (CUP).

Fellow Lion Brian Brown had a cup of coffee with me the other day and brought me a letter. He has never given me a bum steer and I back his words 100 percent. Here it is:

Update on Carter Avenue Ballfields and Community Park

The football/soccer field is complete with goal post funding promised when the conditional-use permit is issued by the Town of Friday Harbor. The Club House bathrooms need the plumbing fixtures set and counters are needed for the kitchen. One of the baseball fields has some grading done and awaits completion. Both wells are providing adequate water to irrigate the fields.

With this said, there are many things left to do and they cost money. To enable the Town of Friday Harbor to issue the CUP the following items need to be completed:

The restroom facility (Club House) must be completed and a certificate of occupancy issued by the Town of Friday Harbor. Plumbing fixtures and counters: estimated cost, $2,500.

The completion of sidewalks from Guard Street to Larson Street: estimated cost for sidewalks, $80,966. The town approved crosswalk, $30,000. The sidewalks will require a public hearing in front of the town council.

Completion of the water rights for the wells on the property for irrigation of the fields. We are currently in the process of finishing the paperwork with no problems anticipated.

Maintenance and operating agreements have been drafted and will be presented to the town as per the CUP requirements.

Completion of 1,000 feet of fencing and gates as per locations designated in the CUP. Some materials are on site: estimated cost, $5,500.

Storm water detention ponds need cleaning and repair: estimated cost, $5,000.

Ten percent contingency, $12,400.

Our best estimate to acquire the Town of Friday Harbor mandated CUP is $136,366. This would open access to the existing fields completed, but would not provide any funding to complete additional fields.

It’s hard to believe but over $1.7 million in cash, labor, material and equipment has been spent to bring the project to where it is today. Our kids are in need of this facility. Let’s get in done.

— Brian Brown, grandfather

Thanks Brian, we’ve got 20 grandkids, too. “We Serve” is the motto of the Lions Club. The other clubs Rotary, Kiwanis and the like have similar creeds, including the Grange. We hope their efforts aren’t held up by too much red tape by those who get paid to serve.

— Go with the F. L. O. W. (Ferry Lovers Of Washington)