"Kenmire property deserves serious study by PortThe community should pay attention when, every six years, the Port of South Whidbey sets its priorities by adopting a new comprehensive plan.The new plan for 2001 to 2007 is nearing completion, but first there will be a public hearing tonight, March 28, at 7 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland.Anyone with a project in mind should attend the meeting, as should anyone with a question about priorities. The port is unique in local government in that it has some money to spend on projects. Its annual income is now over $300,000, and it has some $1 million in the bank. It's the one entity that can actually get something done at the local level without going to the voters for approval of a tax increase.Through the years, the port under various leadership has done an excellent job of providing public facilities for the people of South Whidbey. Freeland Park, Possession Beach Waterfront Park, the still-in-progress Bush Point boat ramp and fishing pier, the Clinton recreational pier, and various boat ramps wouldn't exist without the major role played by the Port of South Whidbey.At the moment, commissioners Jan Smith, Gene Sears and Jim Hawley could use some public input. They seem to be undecided about what the public wants, but leaning the wrong way. Their top priority is improving existing facilities, which is fine, but they also need to take a long-range view. As the saying goes, they're not making any more waterfront property so whenever some is available it deserves very serious examination.We're talking about the Kenmir property next to the Clinton ferry dock, of course. More than 700 people signed a petition saying they want this property as a small park and as the only public access to saltwater in Clinton. A widely respected public lands acquisition expert, Phil Pearl, has offered his help at a reasonable price. Despite this, the commissioners, led by Sears and Hawley, seem solidly against pursuing the project.That's short-sighted. The Kenmir property is available, and although there are complex questions surrounding its acquisition and potential uses, it deserves serious study by the Port of South Whidbey. If the port doesn't take the lead, nobody else will.That's our public input on the new six year comprehensive plan. Give yours tonight at Trinity Lutheran Church.Boeing changes may boost islandFor those who like continued growth and steadily increasing property values, possible changes at the Boeing Commercial Airplane Co. that frighten other areas of the Northwest may prove a boon to Island County.The announcement that Boeing headquarters is moving out of Seattle has little if any impact on Island County. And the possibility that the company will shift more production to Everett could help us -- economically, at least.News reports state Boeing is seriously considering closing its Renton 737 and 757 factory and moving the work to Everett. That translates into thousands of employees who may be looking for a nice place to live closer to work rather than making the miserable I-405 commute between Renton and Everett. That can only mean Whidbey Island because there isn't much left on the mainland that's both nice and affordable.Of course, the thought of hundreds or thousands of people looking for a new home on Whidbey Island terrifies many of us. But we can always move to Renton where there will be plenty of reasonably priced homes available. "

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