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Park district to reconsider caretaker position at popular Point Robinson
By AMELIA HEAGERTY
The future of Point Robinson Park may soon change. After Islanders rallied last week around a live-in caretaker whose employment was nearing its end because his apartment was slated for renovation, the district may “shift its priorities” to keep the position there instead, said David Hackett, Vashon Park District board chair.
The caretaker, Scott Fischbach, lives in part of the park’s 1919 lighthouse keepers quarters. But his apartment is the only portion of the two historic keepers quarters yet to be restored and turned into vacation rentals managed by the park district.
Point Robinson’s master plan, agreed upon by park district staff and the Keepers of Point Robinson nine years ago, called for the caretaker’s apartment to be vacated by the end of the year so the final phase of renovation could begin.
However, the agreement also called for a new caretaker residence to be completed by now, a project that is two years behind.
This week, park officials and Capt. Joe Wubbold, president of the Keepers, are meeting to discuss the park’s future and how a caretaker fits into that picture, Hackett said.
They’ll also consider whether revising the timeline may make sense for the park district and the community, said Wendy Braicks, Vashon Park District executive director.
“Now we feel its time to revisit everything,” said Wubbold. “If it becomes necessary to revise the master plan because of changes that we eventually agree to, then we’ll do that.”
Braicks, park board member Bill Ameling and Wubbold will come up with a plan and recommend it to the park board at an upcoming meeting, Braicks said. Hackett said he hopes the board will be able to make a decision by Thanksgiving.
At last week’s commissioners’ meeting, which more than 30 Islanders attended, many spoke out about services at Point Robinson that they felt an on-site caretaker could best provide, including overall park security, fire safety, marine wildlife research assistance and daily interactions with the public and renters of the lighthouse keepers quarters.
At one point, Hackett asked if any of those present believed Point Robinson did not need a caretaker; no one raised a hand.
In an interview later, Hackett said he appreciated the chance to hear from a larger group of Islanders than the smattering who us-ually attend park meetings.
“At that meeting, we got a strong sense that the caretaker should be in the lower area to guard the park’s assets down by the water,” he said.