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Give us our beach!

"It appears that Clinton residents clearly want their beach back.More than 750 petition signatures were gathered in only about a month by volunteers with the Clinton Community Forum. Those signatures were turned in Wednesday night to the Port of South Whidbey Commissioners.Copies of the petition can also be expected by the South Whidbey Park and Recreation District Commissioner, the Island County Commissioners, and various state officials.Clinton residents have had no saltwater beach access since last year when ferry dock expansion eliminated a staircase to the beach. Even that small bit of beach was greatly reduced from 1938, the year Thomas and Bertha Orr gave waterfront property to Island County for a public beach in Clinton. Over the years, ferry authorities took all that property for the dock and future expansions.Nobody is claiming the ferry dock should be removed. Instead, the Clinton Forum would like public agencies to jointly purchase the Kenmir property, directly north of the ferry dock. It contains the old Admiral's Mistress restaurant building and sandy beach access.Marlene Will, representing the Clinton Forum, told the port commissioners that community reaction to the petition was overwhelmingly positive. She asked that the port become part of a coalition to purchase and maintain the park.Jack Negus pointed to Clinton's growth over the last 10 years. We need it badly, he said.The Kenmir property has been on the market, reportedly for $1.4 million. Its assessed value is $450,000. A fair market value should be able to be determined and a fair offer made, stated the Forum in a letter to the port.Commissioner Jan Smith said the request was fortuitously timed, as the port is presently updating its comprehensive plan with a revised list of possible projects.Commissioner Gene Sears urged the group to put a plan on paper. Will said the Forum will start working on that. Their next meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. at the Clinton Progressive Hall. "

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