SOUNDOFF: Control growth by saving farm

Change, growth and development are inevitable and have its place even in our rural Central Whidbey community. But what we allow to change, grow and develop and how we allow it to do so is within our control.

Right now it is up to the Central Whidbey community, to show we do care about our special landscapes and are committed to preserving a vital 30-plus acres of rural Central Whidbey landscape from being forever changed from forests and open fields to paved roads and residential development.

This parcel, located right along the south side of Highway 20 between Broadway and Main streets, was part of the pioneer Krueger Farm homestead. It now stands as a visual buffer between the growing residential development around downtown Coupeville and the fields and historic buildings that dominate the other side of Highway 20.

Is this parcel, key to the visual continuity of the historic farming landscape that dominates the Central Whidbey landscape, an area that we want permanently changed? How do you feel about driving up Highway 20 and seeing the signs of urban development on one side and the old farming landscape on the other?

The Friends of Krueger Farm are seeking to raise $280,000 by Jan. 8 to buy at least a portion of this parcel and to secure additional time to raise the $1.4 million to purchase the entire area. When purchased the land will be donated to a responsible government agency to be preserved. This is not about usurping property rights, the asking price is the fair market value and it is only because of the landowners’ willingness to consider all options for his property that we have this opportunity.

Now it is up to us. This first fund-raising milestone is a test of our community. Are we willing to commit ourselves to controlling how Central Whidbey changes?

The Friends, as of this letter writing, have already raised $205,000 in a three month time period. That’s pretty impressive. But there are a lot of people in this community that have yet to step up to the plate.

To the long-time residents of Central Whidbey, yes I know it seems we have fought this battle before, but we have done so much to preserve our way of life already, is it not a shame to capitalize on this opportunity to continue what we started 30 years ago?

To the many new residents of the Coupeville and surroundings, why did you move here? If it was because you loved the rural and historic landscape of our small town, well then you need to realize this has not come about just by happenstance. There has been a lot of sweat, tears, and financial commitments of those who were here before you to maintain this community as you see it. If you love Central Whidbey it’s time for you to show it.

So please, think about what it is about Central Whidbey that you love and value. Even a small contribution affects the bottom line not just in dollar figures, but in proof that this community cares about what happens to it. Make your check payable to WCLT, Krueger Farm and send by Jan. 8 to Krueger Farm, PO Box 1515, Coupeville, WA 98239.

Georgie Smith is a long-time resident of Coupeville.

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