City, college, school district, Lower Elwha Tribe agree to share Port Angeles facilities

PORT ANGELES — The city has inked an agreement with Peninsula College, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and Port Angeles School District for the shared use of sports and recreation facilities.

Council members voted 6-0 May 15 to approve the interlocal agreement that will provide courts and ball fields to host youth tournaments in and around the city for years to come.

“It’s all four agencies really working together for the common good, and it’s something we’re very excited about,” city Parks and Recreation Director Corey Delikat said before the unanimous vote.

Council member Jim Moran, a youth basketball official, said tournaments draw a significant number of teams from outside of the area that support Port Angeles businesses.

“We do get a real economic boost from this interlocal agreement,” Moran said.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to expand the type of athletic events that we provide for the kids.”

Mayor Sissi Bruch recused herself from the vote because of her work as senior planner with the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe.

Bruch has since announced that she will resign from her position with the tribe by the end of June to avoid potential conflicts of interest and to focus more on her role as mayor.

Besides facility sharing, the interlocal agreement establishes a multi-agency Facilities Committee that will develop ideas and projects that will benefit the community, Delikat said.

Previously, the city had a two-way agreement with the Port Angeles School District for shared facilities.

Delikat said he and senior officials with each agency worked closely for the better part of a year to develop the new interlocal agreement.

“This is really a great night for the youth and citizens of the community,” Delikat said.

Examples of city-owned facilities that host youth tournaments include Civic Field, Vern Burton Community Center, Lincoln and Shane parks and Elks Playfield.

The Port Angeles School District hosts dozens of basketball teams in tournaments like the April Fools’ Extravaganza at the high school and other district facilities.

The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe has its own gymnasium and Billy Whiteshoes Memorial Park on the reservation west of Port Angeles.

Peninsula College has a gymnasium and Wally Sigmar Field on its main campus in Port Angeles.

“In the past, it’s not that we haven’t been able to use different gyms,” Delikat said. “It made it very difficult at times to do it just through processes.

“And now that we’re all on the same page, that portion of it will be a lot easier,” Delikat added. “And yes, it does help us expand our tournaments.”

The governing boards and councils of Peninsula College, Port Angeles School District and Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe had each approved the interlocal agreement prior to the council meeting.

Council member Mike French said downtown merchants have benefited from youth tournaments, particularly in the winter and shoulder seasons.

“This is a great thing, and I love seeing that communication between all these different agencies and that level of cooperation,” French said.

“I think that’s a really great thing for our community to start to make more of those partnerships, more of those relationships.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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