News

Krueger Farm all alone on funding list

Friends of Krueger Farm appears to have the only ticket to a quarter-million dollar prize.

The organization is the sole applicant for $250,000 in Island County “conservation futures” funding available this year, meaning they’re likely to get at least part of that pot.

Friends of Krueger Farm has a $1.46 million goal to purchase the open acreage within the Coupeville city limits, and is looking to the county for some money.

The Conservation Futures Fund, compiled through a 6.25 cent tax per $1,000 assessed property value, is doled out each year to help finance projects that focus on preserving land or improving public access to open spaces.

General Services Administration Director Betty Kemp said it’s not often that the county has only one applicant vying for the funding.

Last year, the county commissioners approved money to preserve the Davis Slough Heron Rookery on Camano Island and for Oak Harbor to buy property on Scenic Heights Road that will be used as a trailhead.

Before the Krueger Farm application can be approved, it has to go before two committees that weigh the various aspects of the proposal before making a recommendation to the county commissioners for final approval.

Friends of Krueger Farm is a community group trying to raise $1.46 million to purchase, and preserve, 26 acres of open space on the western edge of Coupeville known as Krueger Farm. Otherwise, much of the land could be developed.

The Conservation Futures money will help purchase the part of the property that includes the woods and wetlands, said Friends of Krueger Farm leader Sally Hayton-Keeva.

“The acquisition and protection of the forest and wetland is of primary importance for everybody,” Hayton-Keeva said.

That portion of the property accounts for most of the residential and mixed-use zoning that the Coupeville Town Council approved during a rezone of the property last year.

To allow time for the fund-raising effort, the town placed several development moratoriums on the property. Property owner Cecil Stuurmans will sell to the Friends group if the monetary goal is reached in time.

There is another three acres of Krueger Farm designated as commercial property. Hayton-Keeva said the group will try to buy that portion of the old farmstead after the residential portion is preserved.

She hopes the commercial property could be used as as sales site to benefit local farmers. That would be accomplished through the construction of some kind of barn that would be developed on the property, Hayton-Keeva said.

You can reach News-Times reporter Nathan Whalen at nwhalen@whidbeynewstimes.com.

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