June 25, 2008 · Updated 9:44 PM
"Freeland church fills in the gapsTrinity Lutheran Church celebrated more progress for itself and its community Sunday with the dedication of a 16,000-square-foot addition that includes a gymnasium, fellowship hall and classrooms.The church has grown immensely in the last 10 years and is now in the unique position of being the center of its community. This is owing perhaps to the people of Freeland who have never wanted to incorportate and form a city. That left a few gaps in community life, gaps which the church on the corner of Highway 525 and Woodard Avenue has gladly filled.The church leaders make their facilities available to almost any group, and on any given night several might be meeting in its varied facilities. Within the walls of the church the community's future is planned by the county's volunteer subarea planning committee, while other groups may be hearing talks about gray whales, family issues or ferry service. When there's a meeting in the Freeland community, chances are it will be held at the church.Sunday's dedication ceremony filled another gap in the community -- there was nowhere for children to play basketball, so a gymnasium was built. This promises to be a popular facility for youth all over South Whidbey. Plans are already in the works for open gyms, pizza parties and other youth activities.For years, South Whidbey has had a dire need for youth facilities --- somewhere kids can go at night and enjoy themselves in a safe environment. In Freeland, the church once again stepped in where taxpayers feared to tread.South Whidbey's other churches also do fine work in their own way, but only Trinity Luthern has successfully reached out to the entire community. Its efforts have been impressive and serve as an example for other churches who wonder how to reach others. All it takes is a little faith and a lot of hard-earned community support.Port's new plan inclusive, at leastThe Port of South Whidbey's six-year comprehensive plan adopted last week has something for everyone -- as should be the case.Improvements are planned for existing facilities at Possession, Maxwelton, Mutiny Bay, Langley, Freeland and other locations. The list is long enough that just about every project the port has contemplated can be accommodated. The plan doesn't make anything happen, but it helps to have each possible project listed in the plan in order to facilitate funding from state and federal sources.If the plan has one drawback, it is the low emphasis on property acquisition. The Clinton public access next to the ferry dock known as the Kenmir property is mentioned, but only in passing. Future generations would be better served if the port acquired additional waterfront property even if it comes at the expense of capital improvements being sought by particular communities. One the plus side, the plan does promote the purchase of added property for Freeland Park.A couple of other projects may raise eyebrows. The plan mentions community meeting buildings at Maxwelton and Freeland, and the commissioners seem quite serious about these. They may be fine projects, but first the commissioners should better articulate the need for these facilities and the costs. Would the money be better spent on property acquisition?The bottom line is the new plan does its job and comes after considerable public input was collected. Now it's time for the port to get busy and do something. "