Fort Worden, PDA lease transfer pushed back

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PORT TOWNSEND — The date for the transfer of the Fort Worden State Park campus area to a public development authority’s management has been pushed back from January to May, according to the PDA executive director.

“The proposal as of [Wednesday] is May 1, as opposed to Jan. 1,” said Dave Robison, director of the Port Townsend Lifelong Learning Center Public Development Authority.

“There are a lot of things to do to get the transition under way and in place.”

Details of the draft 50-year lease haven’t been finalized yet, said Robison and Virginia Painter, spokeswoman for the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

But they are expected to be in place by 7 p.m. Tuesday, when State Parks will open a public meeting on the agreement with the public development authority for co-management of Fort Worden State Park.

The meeting will be at the Commons Building at Fort Worden, 200 Battery Way.

“It’s in process now,” Painter said, adding that the state will issue a notice once the draft lease agreement is ready for review.

“The elements of the agreement will be available at the meeting,” she said.

The PDA board will consider the details during an executive session today, Robison said.

The meeting at 8:30 a.m. in the Cotton Building, 607 Water St., will include review of the preliminary capital facilities plan and the establishment of some committees before the board adjourns into a closed executive session to consider the draft terms and conditions of the lease, Robison said.

“If they feel comfortable with that, State Parks will roll that out on Tuesday,” Robison said, adding that he didn’t know Wednesday when details would be available to the public.

Robison said little had changed in the agreement from that which has been reported.

“One of the things that has changed is the timeline,” he said.

“The master lease would become effective May 1 instead of Jan. 1.

“It’s been a lengthy process to work out all the minute details on how this partnership will work together over the term of the lease,” Robison said.

“It’s a complicated property transaction, and I think we’ve done a great job of addressing how the two parties, State Parks and the PDA, can work together on a collaborative partnership.”

On Thursday, Aug. 1, the PDA board plans a special meeting from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Cotton Building to review the latest revision of the draft lease agreement, as well as comments from the State Parks public meeting, and consider submitting it to the commission.

The state commission could act on it at 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at its regular meeting in Anacortes, Painter said.

A unanimous vote is required for commission approval of any 50-year lease, she said.

The agreement is expected to outline how the Port Townsend Lifelong Learning Center Public Development Authority could manage the campus area of Fort Worden State Park — about one-fourth of the 434-acre park, which contains most of the buildings — as a “lifelong learning center.”

Under the lifelong learning center concept, the academic campus would be managed by the PDA to offer educational and recreational options, operating in tandem with existing park operations.

State Parks will manage the camping, beach and recreation areas of the park while the Port Townsend-based PDA handles conference management, program and event management, visitor services, marketing and sales, and new facility development.

For more information on the PDA, visit

For information about state commission meetings, visit

A full agenda is posted about one week in advance of all regular commission meetings, Painter said.

Managing Editor/News Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3531 or at

Last modified: July 24. 2013 6:07PM
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