Environment Government

City attempting to conserve another 5.15 acres near Donkey Creek Park

Posted on February 16th, 2022 By:

The Gig Harbor City Council, during its meeting Monday night, approved a Parks Department pursuit of a Conservations Futures Grant from Pierce County to purchase 5.15 acres of forest near Donkey Creek Park. The land is bordered by Austin Street and Harborview Drive and, in addition to the forested uplands, has several large open spaces.

The property is adjacent to Austing Street and Donkey Creek Park.

The property is adjacent to Austin Street and Donkey Creek Park. Photo courtesy of city of Gig Harbor

The property owner has expressed interest in selling the land to the city and has signed a purchase-and-sale agreement for a price “far below market value,” according to Parks Administrator Matt Keough. If the city doesn’t buy it, the property could be subdivided into 18 single-family lots with a public road.

The property, called Phase 3 of the North Creek Salmon Heritage Site, together with the nearby North Creek Conservation Area that’s being acquired through a similar grant, would conserve 40.52 acres within the North Creek/Donkey Creek watershed and quadruple the amount of forest in the city. It would be maintained in its natural state as a conservation, historical and cultural preserve with public trails and scenic viewpoints. The city is working with the Puyallup Tribe on both acquisitions.

Site Map showing subdivisions

Site map showing proposed subdivisions Map courtesy of city of Gig Harbor

Once the city has acquired the property, it can potentially move forward with construction of a long-planned roundabout at the intersection of Austin Street and Harborview Drive. The roundabout has been under consideration since as early as 2012, according to Public Works Director Jeff Langhelm. But before that can happen, the North Creek/Donkey Creek culvert under Harborview must be replaced and the city needs more right-of-way along the north side of Austin Street.

Trolley returning

Also Monday, the City Council approved an interlocal agreement with Pierce Transit to return the trolley to Gig Harbor this summer. This will be the eighth year that the popular trolley has run between Uptown and Gig Harbor North.

The city’s share for the service is $49,244. The cost will be offset by about $20,000 through contributions from city partners, assuming that Uptown, Heron’s Key, The Inn at Gig Harbor, Downtown Waterfront Alliance and Chamber of Commerce agree to the partnership again this year. That will keep the fare at 50 cents for adults, a discount from Pierce Transit’s normal adult rate of $2.

The trolley will run from June 4 to Sept. 4.

New GHPD detective

Police Chief Kelly Busey introduced Tray Federici, the department’s new detective sergeant. Federici was recently promoted to the job. He joined the force in 2016 and has been a detective since 2019. He’s been voted Officer of the Year three times by his co-workers.

Other business

In other business, Finance Director Dave Rodenbach gave a preliminary fourth-quarter financial report from 2021, calling it “very good news,” and adding that 2022 budget estimates are “solid.”

Langhelm reported that the city is waiting for the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) to approve the foundation plan for the Honoring Project, a large, carved-cedar figure that will be installed in Austin Park. Langhelm anticipates that the plan will be approved in March, after which the city will go out for bids on the concrete foundation. He added that the city is working closely with the Puyallup Tribe and that the artwork might be in place by early May.