QUILCENE — Quilcene’s refurbished tennis and basketball courts are open.
Quilcene community members and officials from the county, Quilcene schools and Jefferson Healthcare hospital gathered at the Quilcene Community Center for a ribbon-cutting Tuesday to celebrate the remodeled ball courts, located next to the Quilcene Community Center at 294964 U.S. Highway 101.
The new courts are the culmination of more than three years of work spearheaded by Clayton White of Quilcene, the campground host and maintenance supervisor at Quilcene Community Park and Lake Leland.
‘Needed to be dealt with’
“I noticed it was in disrepair and needed to be dealt with,” White said.
“I asked my supervisor if I could take on the project privately. I just wanted confirmation that if I collected the money, it would go toward this project and not some general fund.”
White started collecting donations at the Quilcene Post Office in June 2013. He soon began working with the Port Townsend Basketball Club, which gave the project nonprofit status and made donations easier to obtain and track.
“We got a lot of small donations from Quilcene residents,” White said. “A lot of $1 or $2 donations, a few $20 and $100 or $200 here and there. I think the total we got was maybe $2,000 to $3,000.”
As the project picked up steam, White was able to pick up larger donors.
The Parks family of Poulsbo created a matching fund for up to $12,500, and Jefferson County contributed $3,000 toward the project. White donated $6,000 of his own money.
With those funds, they were able to repave the potholed courts for $25,000 through Agate Asphalt.
“We were able to afford an extra half-inch more than we planned,” White said. “It doesn’t sound like much, but it will make this last a lot longer.”
A year after the paving was complete, Jefferson Healthcare — with the encouragement of County Commissioner Kathleen Kler — volunteered to paint the new courts. Painting, which cost nearly $20,000, is in the colors of the Quilcene Rangers: purple and gold.
Pacific Ace’s crew worked up until Monday night finishing up the Quilcene Rangers logo on the center circle of the new basketball court.
“As soon as it was painted, everyone came out to play,” White said. “It really made a huge difference.”
The paint is expected to last roughly 10 years before it will need to be replaced due to wear and weather on the outdoor court. The new asphalt is expected to last 40 years before it will need some work done.
“We really wanted it to be a quality project that would last,” White said.
While Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting was meant to celebrate the new courts, it was also a thank-you to White, who soon will retire from his six-year stint as campground host and maintenance manager.
White volunteered to take that job in 2010, when Quilcene Community Park was shut down due to the recession; the county simply couldn’t afford to run it.
“He saw the value here even when we shut down and walked away,” said Matt Tyler, Jefferson County Parks and Recreation manager.
In July 2015, White volunteered to also run the Lake Leland campground, which had also been closed due to budget cuts.
“Clayton exemplifies play and service,” Kler said. “Not everyone gets to leave a physical legacy, but this is yours, and you did it for the love of the community.”
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at email@example.com.