News

City pitches camp with Kilworth

By ERICA HALL

The Mirror

Camp Kilworth is, by all appearances, saved.

The Federal Way City Council voted 6-0 Tuesday to purchase the Boy Scouts of America Pacific Harbors Council’s 70-year-old, 25-acre park on Puget Sound for $3 million, so long as the Kilworth family heirs are willing to sell it. Councilman Jim Ferrell was absent for the vote.

Even the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce, which initially opposed the city purchasing the property, was supportive after hearing the city will continue its downtown redevelopment efforts with help from about $6.5 million in unanticipated extra revenue from real estate activity this year.

Last June, the council authorized negotiations with the Pacific Harbors Council. City officials came back late last month with a sale price of $3 million and a plan for the city to pay $1.2 million at closing with excess cash on hand, another $1 million by the first anniversary of the sale, and the final $800,000 by the second anniversary.

Meanwhile, the Scouts group will work to clear the title, which the William Kilworth family deeded to the Pacific Harbors Council in the 1930s with the stipulation the Scouts maintain the land as a camp. If the family doesn’t allow a sale by Dec. 31, 2007, the deal falls through and the city doesn’t lose any money, officials said.

“What really helped my decision is we were able to spread the payments over three years,” Mayor Dean McColgan said. “That gives us time to seek some grant funding.”

Councilman Jack Dovey said he voted in favor of purchasing the property in an effort to preserve it from development. “I voted on it as a lifestyle for the future. Trees don’t grow that fast,” he said.

The Chamber of Commerce and some local residents initially opposed a purchase, saying the city should remain focused on redeveloping the city center. But city officials alleviated concerns by pointing out how much money the city has generated in real estate excise taxes, which can only be used for capital projects.

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