Waiting for answers on Fort Worden PDA | Letter to the editor

Posted 4/7/21

The failure of the Fort Worden PDA project is the local version of our nationally bankrupt economy. 

Hopeful ignorance or deliberate embezzlement sprinkled with the virus of the times, it …

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Waiting for answers on Fort Worden PDA | Letter to the editor

Posted

The failure of the Fort Worden PDA project is the local version of our nationally bankrupt economy. 

Hopeful ignorance or deliberate embezzlement sprinkled with the virus of the times, it makes no difference. Those of good will and well meant believed; this parkland loved near and far with its historic buildings and seaside could be ratcheted into a profitable destination — where thousands come for festivals, schooling, exercise, public meetings, conventions, vacations and Navy commando training.

The city council with City Manager David Timmons had already formed a Public Development Authority (PDA), an entity that could get loans for housing or other projects, when State Parks Commissioners announced they would no longer afford Fort Worden’s upkeep. P.T. was in jeopardy of losing hotel tax money. Manager Timmons saw opportunity — a PDA  project to save Fort Worden.

State Parks and the PDA board negotiated a life long learning and destination resort project, the PDA responsible for building upkeep, repair and management — all well-meant. The reality: Historic buildings and thousands of visitors’ needs require lots of working infrastructure. Lots of money.

Earlier the State built a $10 million dining hall, a clue of resort status; propane fireplace, old growth fir trim, stone floors and commercial kitchen in constant struggle to perform. The well loved hostel was closed down making way for something more profitable. Peninsula College collaborated to finance the $6 million-plus renovation of Building 202 including major water/sewer upgrades. The PDA board agreed to a $2 million glamping project (tents) and a $12 million Makers Square. Under Dave Robison’s management: Employment grew from 40 to 170 along with salaries and benefits; myriad credit card infusions; “borrowing” from dedicated funds; late filings; failed audits. What did the PDA board know?

The board has hired now retired David Timmons to sort things out. We Leader readers have yet to know how and how much Timmons is being paid (rumor has it is $15,000 per month). Will banks extend loans, cut the interest rates? Will donors dig deep? Will the virus disappear and we’ll return to “normal”?

Lifelong learning is so challenging.

Julie Jaman
PORT TOWNSEND

Comments

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HarveyW

Keep waiting for your answers, and some for Cherry Street, decaying roads, 17 million in city debt, no parking education or plan or enforcement with converted Adams street parking to a "parklet" and so much more. The answer is at election time. The answer is voters who think past images and see root causes.

Thursday, April 8
Gregg Knowles

Exactamundo Julie!!!!

Monday, April 12