On Dec. 12 the new electronic community welcome sign on Lindvog Road and N.E. State Highway 104 went operational. Its first message: the time and temperature.
Port staff will spend the rest of December familiarizing themselves with the new sign and its software.
“Because we’re still learning, there’s no charge for putting a message on the welcome sign this month,” said Terryl Asla, the Port’s communications coordinator who is responsible for the sign. “By Jan. 1, the guidelines and forms will be finalized.”
So what other kinds of messages will go on it?
“There are state and county guidelines as well as those of the oversight committee. It’s essentially a calendar for upcoming events being put on by local non profits,” Asla said.
The electronic welcome sign has been a dream of Jon Sole and his fellow Rotarians for the past 10 years.
“The Port, under the guidance of Jim Pivarnik has been a major partner with Kingston Rotary Club, both financially and ‘hands on’ to bring the project to fruition over the past six months or so,” Sole said. “The Port Commissioners have been supportive of Pivarnik’s efforts from start to finish.”
“The Port was pleased to be able to help put this much-needed information service ‘over the top,’” Pivarnik said. “But most of the credit has to go to Jon [Sole] for never giving up on the dream and the Kingston-North Kitsap Rotary Club for sharing that vision.”
“The Rotary Club has been a long-term advocate [of the electronic community welcome sign] for some 10 years through various fund-raising activities, working with local and county leadership, and spearheading [the] design and coordinating the actual project with the several entities necessary to bring the project to realization,” Sole said.
He then went on to list some of the other community members who helped, through contributions of their time, talent and treasure.
“Clint Boxman coordinated the financial contributions. Randy Hanson, owner of Hanson Sign Company that built the sign has worked tirelessly with the Rotary Club over the many years the project has gone from being a ‘pipe dream’ to … a reality,” Sole said.
“When it came to the actual construction of the sign, Steve Kelly, owner of Steve Kelly Construction Company did the site clearing for free.”
Ted Smith of Homeland Construction, also helped with the site cleanup for free.
“Buck Levengood, owner of Code Electric, Inc., did the electric work gratis and Joe Hurtt at Kingston Lumber Supply discounted the price of the stone materials for the columns,” Sole said.
“Jason Cratty performed the fine craftsmanship on the masonry work for [the] columns, plus other incidental work around the work site,” he said.
Sole went on to single out Rob Gelder, Kitsap County Commissioner (District 1); praising him for shepherding the project through the County rules and regulations.
“And his aide, Rebecca Pirtle, has been an invaluable liaison with County government,” Sole said.
According to Sole, other organizations who contributed to making the reader board a reality include the Greater Kingston Kiwanis Club; Kingston Stakeholders; and the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce.
“This is a bright (no pun intended) example of what we can accomplish when we come together to achieve a community goal,” said Pivarnik.

Photo: The new community welcome sign greets visitors with the news of upcoming events being put on by area nonprofits. Port photo.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Jon Sole as ‘John Sole.’