Agreement reached to build log cabin for Port Townsend Scouts

PORT TOWNSEND — The Fred Lewis Scout Cabin Association and the city have reached a verbal agreement on site issues connected to a proposed log cabin for youth, clearing the way for the application of a building permit.

FLSCA president Pat McMinds, vice-president Joe Carey, project coordinator Ralph Ericksen and attorney Ken Long met Thursday with city staff and three members of the Port Townsend City Council to look at concerns connected to the proposed construction of a log cabin at LeRoy Carroll Memorial Park.

A triangle of land between Sims Way and Discovery Road at the entrance to the city, the park has two street rights of way across it and another right of way, Spring Street, that parallels Howard Street.

The agreement covers the three street vacations, a conservation easement along Sims Way and an easement on Discovery Road and is contingent on approval of the entire council at its Feb. 17 meeting.

But cabin advocates are optimistic.

“We were really concerned that something was going to bog us down and we couldn’t get started this year,” Ericksen said. “That’s not going to happen.”

The FLSCA hopes to start the foundation for the cabin this spring and has already purchased the first of three loads of logs, which were delivered to the site by Pat Yarr.

On Thursday, Ericksen and a work party of volunteers will roll the 34 logs off the pile and onto crosspieces of scrap lumber, donated by Lawrence Johnson of Hadlock Building Supply, to get them in place for peeling, Ericksen said.

The logs, purchased from Olympic Resource Management and cut near Sandy Shores, are export quality, Ericksen said.

“They’re beauties,” Ericksen said. “They knew they were cutting logs for a log house. They’re not scuffed up and don’t have any gravel embedded in them from being dragged over the ground.”

The verbal agreement with the city includes a conservation easement along Sims Way, which calls for the FLSCA to maintain the stretch of trees bordering it in a healthy condition, McMinds said.

The city will also receive a 20-foot easement along Discovery Road needed in the future if the road is widened.

A utility easement for the water line that runs under Spring Street is also part of the agreement, Ericksen said.

Public comment on the street vacations was received at the Jan. 20 council meeting and reviewed by the city’s Non-motorized Transportation Advisory Board. Neither of the two rights of way crossing the park met state requirements for use as streets, due to the angle to the main road.

Consensus at Thursday’s meeting was that maintaining public access to the Spring Street right of way complicated the city’s access to the water line for utility maintenance, Ericksen said.

Both Ericksen and McMinds expressed relief that site issues have been resolved, allowing the project to progress to the next level, the building permit application.

When that is approved, the group can step up efforts to raise the $125,000 needed to augment donations of labor and material, McMinds said.

Members hope to have the building roofed before the end of the year.

“You never know how much work it takes to get something done,” McMinds said, “but I always knew it could be done.”

The new cabin replaces one built for Scouts with community labor and materials on property donated by Port Townsend businessman Fred Lewis in 1929.

The property, eight water-view city lots on Morgan Hill, was sold in 2003 by Chief Seattle Boy Scout Council, and the cabin was torn down.

In April 2007, American Legion Post No. 26 of Port Townsend deeded LeRoy Carroll Memorial Park to the FLSCA as a site for the cabin. The FLSCA is made up of representatives of the Elks Lodge No. 317, which charters two Boy Scout groups, the legion post and the community at large.

Designed by Teri Mielke, the new cabin will also be built as a community effort, with roughly half of the $400,000 cost in the form of donations of labor, materials and equipment. For more information, phone Ralph Ericksen at 360-385-6453.

Jennifer Jackson can be reached at jjackson@olypen.com.

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