Fort gates might have closed without the PDA | Letters to the editor

Posted 7/21/21

Do you love Fort Worden? So do we! 

My husband and I are neighbors of Fort Worden and are grateful for its natural beauty where we can hike, recreate, and even swim when the weather permits. …

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Fort gates might have closed without the PDA | Letters to the editor

Posted

Do you love Fort Worden? So do we! 

My husband and I are neighbors of Fort Worden and are grateful for its natural beauty where we can hike, recreate, and even swim when the weather permits. We are also grateful for Fort Worden as a lifelong learning center with Centrum, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, Peninsula College, Northwind Arts, Madrona Mindbody Institute, KPTZ and so many more! 

Why do you think the fort continues to provide so much to our community? It is because of the people who work there — both paid staff and volunteers! When the state didn’t have enough money to adequately support the fort, and there was danger that the fort would be closed or offered to a private business, a group of local folks stepped up to form the Fort Worden Public Development Authority. They took over management of the main campus of the fort so the state parks department could focus on the natural areas. 

The PDA board and staff have worked tirelessly to deal with deferred maintenance on buildings and infrastructure and to bring in government grants and private donations to our community. They struggled to balance the needs of the partner organizations, the public, the state, and the guests who pay to stay at Fort Worden — a major source of revenue for the fort. Balancing those competing needs and demands is almost impossible and there have been huge challenges and problems along the way, particularly in the time of COVID. 

As a 20-year resident of this community and a former board member of Centrum, I have had the opportunity to attend lots of PDA board meetings. I have seen the dedication, integrity and capacity of both the PDA staff and board. After many years of service, this last Wednesday the PDA board resigned so that a new board could step up to new challenges with a new organizational structure. Those board members have continued to serve during an incredibly difficult time. I am so grateful that they didn’t give up. That they stayed the course to find new solutions. 

And I am equally grateful to the staff and boards of all the partner organizations who have continued to serve our community through the difficulties of the past year and a half. We might have lost this valuable resource. 

The gates might have closed. But there is now a path for the future. Many staff and volunteers will continue their work for the fort. And a new group of dedicated individuals will commit their time and talents to preserve this essential community resource through a newly structured PDA. Will you be one of them? What can you do to help Fort Worden and its partner organizations?

Carla Main
PORT TOWNSEND

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Snowball_InHawaii

Good letter, Carla!

Wednesday, July 21