By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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With dozens of drought-resistant plants — including lavender, berries and Garry oaks — the Sequim Low Impact Development Demonstration site was designed to give homeowners ideas for landscaping in an area unusually dry for Western Washington.
The grant-funded project, spearheaded by the Clallam County Conservation District, also includes a demonstration rain garden, a porous asphalt driving lane and walking path, and interpretive signs to explain its purpose.
The site is adjacent to the Albert Haller Playfields at Carrie Blake Park at 202 N. Blake Ave.
The demonstration garden was funded with a $24,000 grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency through Jefferson County, a $30,000 grant from the Washington Conservation Commission and a $39,000 grant from the state Department of Ecology, though Conservation District Manager Joe Holtrop said the project was finished for an estimated total of just more than $80,000 of that $93,000 total.
Holtrop credited community volunteers for helping put the park together in an abbreviated time frame.
“I was overwhelmed by all the generosity of the local businesses,” Holtrop told more than two dozen who came to see the park dedicated Thursday.
Several local businesses contributed more than $10,000 worth of plants, labor and equipment, and volunteer organizations helped plant the garden.
Holtrop estimated 170 hours of volunteer labor were donated, including 120 from the Sequim High School FFA under the direction of adviser Steve Mahitka.
Because of the volunteer labor, Holtrop said, what should have been an 18-month project was finished in nine months.
Grant dollars for the project expire June 30, meaning the park had to be complete by then, he said, if it was going to be finished.
Paul Haines, Sequim's Public Works Director, credited Holtrop's “zest, zeal and tenacity” for pulling the project together with volunteers quickly.
“Joe's been a real champion on this,” Haines said.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.