‘Pearl of the Peninsula' proclaimed as Quilcene dedicates its new entrance sign, park
QUILCENE— About 80 people helped dedicate Gateway Park and a new welcome sign at the south end of Quilcene on Friday afternoon.
The new sign, visible to U.S. Highway 101 motorists traveling from the south into Quilcene, proclaims the town of 1,500 as “Pearl of the Peninsula.”
“This park is only the beginning,” said Stan Nealy, who emceed the 15-minute ceremony.
“It will be here for a long time.”
The park and the sign were the latest civic improvements emerging from the year-old Quilcene Conversations group, and was supervised by Beautify Quilcene, a subset of that group.
Gateway Park, a garden at the south end of Quilcene on Highway 101 at Milepost 295, just south of the Mount Walker Inn, was designed and built by Quilcene residents under the leadership of John Helsper, a professional landscape designer who operates out of both Quilcene and Kirkland.
Helsper supervised the project and received donations of plants, rocks and the use of equipment.
Cathy Barsukoff, owner of the Mount Taylor Inn, provided the site for the park.
Helsper said the project required $8,900 in materials, all donated, $1,400 in out-of-pocket expenses and 214 hours of labor.
Nealy said the community rallied to complete the park, providing moral and financial support during its construction.
“While we were working people would come by with sodas and cookies and muffins,” he said.
“They drive by and honk their horn and some of them would stop and ask where they could send us a check.”
Twelve people were singled out for special effort, beginning with the bestowing of The Order of the Quilcene Oyster, a shell on a ribbon that was ceremoniously placed around each of their necks.
“In a few years these awards might be really valuable,” Nealy said,
“Right now, not so much.”
Lori Millard, Cass Brotherton, Tom Brotherton, Barsukoff, Tom Meyer, Lynn Thompson, Mary Carr and Linda Saunders were inducted into the order.
Helsper became a member of the Order of the Double Oyster, getting a larger shell, while sign designer Ann Ricker was specially honored with The Quilcene Order of the Oyster With Pearls.
Jefferson County Commissioners John Austin and David Sullivan along with Port of Port Townsend commissioner Leif Erickson attended the ceremony but did not address the crowd.
After the ceremony, the group moved to the Quilcene Community Center for a potluck dinner and the regular Quilcene Conversations meeting, to plan and discuss 28 future projects.
The new slogan, Gateway Park and the sign all resulted from Quilcene Conversations, a community volunteer movement that seeks to add attractions and services that will capitalize on the town's assets and address needs identified by its citizens.
Quilcene Conversations began in December 2010 and targeted five areas of community enhancement, to beautify Quilcene, help business, monitor youth, develop a community identity and improve outdoor signs.
from the Peninsula Daily News