Island Grill eyed as park headquarters

Deception Pass State Park rangers will soon have room to stretch their legs while working when the purchase of a new administration building is finalized.

During the April Washington State Parks Commission meeting in La Conner, commissioners approved the purchase of what used to be the Island Grill restaurant, on Highway 20 just south of Deception Pass.

Deception Pass State Park Manager Jack Hartt said one of the biggest reasons for buying a new building to accommodate office space is because right now rangers and park security are headquartered in an old school portable.

Hartt said he has 15 staff in a trailer-sized building.

“I have people tucked away in old cubby holes,” Hartt said.

He said the current offices are not conducive for business, and the larger space of the Island Grill building will afford the rangers space to work, the public an information center and the park a place to conduct orientations and administrative work.

Another incentive for the building purchase is that current park offices are in a historic preserve area.

Hartt said the old portable is infringing on old Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) land and structures, and isn’t uniform to the historic buildings throughout Deception Pass State Park.

He said the Island Grill building might need some remodeling before his staff moves in, but purchasing this building is much more money wise than building a new one.

He said they also are using all the restaurant’s appliances and utilities to replace the park’s retreat center equipment. Overall, Hartt said he felt the purchase of the Island Grill building will improve the park’s services and facilities.

“Right now, it is not a done deal,” Hartt said. “But we hope to close very soon.”

Dawn Fletcher, a real estate agent of land properties for Washington State Parks, said the Island Grill building and property will cost the park approximately $595,000.

Fletcher said, before closing, the building needs an appraisal. She said the appraisal is scheduled for the first week in June. And soon after, her department hopes to agree on the final price and close the deal.

Hartt said the state is still lacking some of the funds, but hopes to have everything finalized by July 1, 2005. He added that with the remodeling and moving, he hopes to move in to the new building before the end of the year.

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