Welcome Friends and Supporters of Athletic Fields

Friends of Athletic Fields (FAF) as a non-profit, volunteer organization is busy keeping up with the many activities and meetings associated with active recreational facilities around the Puget Sound region and state-wide. Here are some of the issues that have been our recent focus:

 

Support Seattle Parks for All and Vote YES on Prop 1 in August

The August 5th Primary Ballot will offer Proposition 1 to the public to decide whether to approve a Seattle Park District that will provide a stable, long-term funding source for the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation. Athletic field upgrades and many other projects and programs are included in the ballot measure so this is worth paying attention to and supporting the campaign, Seattle Parks for All, that is promoting establishment of the park district. The planned athletic field projects include:

  • Synthetic turf "carpet" replacements at 12 playfields (for when the synthetic fibers reach the end of their approximately ten-year life): Bobby Morris, Georgetown, Interbay Stadium, Lower Woodland 2 and 7, Loyal Heights, Miller, and Magnuson (3 fields + 2 baseball infelds) =~$6M total

  • Field upgrades at 13 natural grass playfields: Ballard, Bayview, Bitter Lake, Cleveland, Dahl, East Queen Anne, West Queen Anne, Rainier Beach PF, Rainier PF drainage, View Ridge, Magnolia North, Magnolia South, and West Seattle Stadium =~$16M total

  • Smith Cove Playfield upgrade to the underutilized site that was acquired way back with the ProParks 2000 levy but never fully developed by DPR; as part of the Smith Cove Park project developing and maintaining the newly acquired Port waterfront property =~$2.1M for the playfield portion

Go to Current Issues to learn more about what a park district, also called a metropolitan park district (MPD), entails and for more details on the ballot measure.

 

 

Mayor Murray's Parks Funding Plan - March 2014

Mayor Murray announced his Parks Funding proposal on March 13th with some adjustments to the Legacy Committee's recommendations. He has recommended a vote on the MPD funding method at a proposed $54M level for the first 6 years. The biggest impact on field users is the neglect of adding any new sportsfields to increase availability and reduce the need to squash many teams on one field for practice time and to reduce driving to far away facilities. In addition, the Mayor eliminated the initiative to provide for more synthetic turf maintenance that included purchase of a 2nd Sport Champ grooming machine. Given that more regular maintenance is reported to extend the life of the synthetic carpets by 2 years, FAF feels that this would still be a worthwhile investment with long-term cost savings and should be included in the measure to get the most out the synthetic surfaces already installed. Let the Mayor and Council know what you think of the latest proposals. <see CURRENT ISSUES for more details on fields initiatives>

All here on the Mayor's blog: http://murray.seattle.gov/parkdistrict/#sthash.yDAuW0e6.dpbs

Seattle Mayor and City Council Electeds November 2013

Congratulations State Senator Ed Murray on being elected our new Seattle Mayor. We look forward to meeting you and working together on DPR and active recreation issues. Thank you Mayor Mike McGinn for paying attention to athletic field issues and helping address our concerns. Congratulations also go out to the elected Seattle councilmembers: Sally Bagshaw (current Parks Committee chair), Mike O'Brien, Nick Licata, and newest member Kshama Sawant. A big thank you goes to outgoing CM Richard Conlin who has helped support Seattle parks and playfields over his many years of service to Seattle citizens; you will be missed.

 

Seattle Parks & Rec Field (Schedule) Viewer

One item that has been promoted at the Summit and other meetings is the ability of field users to be able to view online what fields are already scheduled and availability. DPR has developed a pilot test version of Field Viewer that provides a beta version for doing just this. You can only see availability in this version and cannot reserve fields (yet) but it shows good promise and progress. Only certain fields (at Riverview, Lower Woodland, Magnuson, Jefferson PF, Bitter Lake, and Magnolia) are currently programmed in with hopes to have the full athletic fields inventory included in the near future. Take a test drive and let Athletic Field Coordinators Raft Hollingsworth (raft.hollingworth@seattle.gov) and/or Joe Green (joe.green@seattle.gov) know what you think. [https://class.seattle.gov/parks/Facilities/FacilitiesSearchWizard.asp]

 

Mayor's 2013 Athletic Field Users Summit, August 12th at City Hall

The Third Annual Fields Summit was held on August 12th at City Hall with about thirty people in attendance. Mayor McGinn, Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, Superintendent Christopher Williams and associated staff made presentations and engaged in worthwhile conversations about all things to do with sportsfields. The Central Budget Office evaluated options for a potential dedicated fund through rental fees for synthetic turf replacement that included fee increases at varying levels. Youth leagues better review the details. Thanks to Ainsley Close/Mayor's Office for organizing this event once again and helping make sure progress is being made.

 

Magnuson Park - Future Fields and "the parking lot"

The Final Magnuson Strategic Development Plan document was posted on the Warren G. Magnuson Park webpage in 2012 (despite what it might say about second draft status). Field users can take comfort that "building more athletic fields" is one of the top priorities for the "Land" category. The next challenge is to get funding for these fields that were approved in the 2004 Magnuson Master Plan. FAF has taken every opportunity to promote the need to build these approved fields with DPR, the Mayor, and City Council. Our focus is to NOT build the parking lot on top of the Sand Point grass fields (as shown on the Master Plan) and to build multi-use fields that can be used by multiple sports throughout the year.

 

Background: Several sports leagues and FAF attended the kickoff workshop and several public meetings on the SDP in 2012. Field users really stepped up by submitting 70% of the email comments, which showed tremendous public support for building more of the athletic fields. See the Magnuson SDP and other info here: http://www.seattle.gov/parks/Magnuson/.

 

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Field Construction Project Updates:

  • West Seattle Reservoir Lid (Westcrest Park) Park. Construction of the buried reservoir was completed in 2011 and construction documents for the lid park will be completed in Fall 2013. Plans are to construct the park in 2014 and the contractor has mobilized onsite this May. The last West Seattle Reservoir Lid design meeting was held on June 26, 2010 with presentation of the preferred concept that includes a large open grass meadow on top of the lid. Based on timely feedback from FAF and supporters, DPR removed one pathway to keep the natural grass area on the lid intact and as large as possible; thanks Virginia. Feel free to provide any feedback to Parks' latest project manager Kim Baldwin (kim.baldwin@seattle.gov).

  • Wilson Pacific Playfield, north Seattle  NEW PROJECT!!

    This Seattle Public Schools playfield is located at the most recently Native American School at Wilson Pacific. As part of BEX4 (2013), SPS will be building new middle and elementary school facilities at this site starting in November 2014 and the playfields will be reconfigured in a large way. The design public process has begun and FAF is engaged. This is a project we should be paying attention to since these fields are widely used and provide space for at least one soccer field, one 90-foot baseball diamond, and one little league diamond.

    June 26 Update: Zoning variances for taller buildings and reduced parking are being recommended to provide the largest athletic field space in between the two new schools proposed. Neighbors are concerned about potential impacts and a much smaller field is a possible option. Let Seattle Public Schools know that the larger field is critical for North Seattle sports leagues. More info including where to send written comments is here:
    http://frontporch.seattle.gov/2014/06/13/third-meeting-scheduled-to-discuss-zoning-change-requests-for-the-new-wilson-pacific-elementary-and-middle-schools/

     

  • Cleveland Playfield, south Seattle  NEW PROJECT!!

    Also included in BEX4 (2013), the poor quality athletic field at Cleveland High School (the only Seattle HS without a synthetic playfield) is scheduled for an as-yet undefined upgrade to the tune of $2 million. SPS has been unable to inform us of exactly what is planned for this site but this is another project to be paying attention to. Synthetic turf with the addition of lights would provide great benefits to the school and field users in south Seattle.

  • Seattle Public Schools Playfield Projects  

    Other athletic field projects included in either BEX IV include Eckstein Middle School (synthetic turf replacement), Ballard High School (track only), Cleveland High School (undefined), View Ridge Elementary (field only), Thornton Creek Elementary@Decatur (field only?; this school is planned to be rebuilt and the athletic field may go away), or BTA III (2010) include Van Asselt ES (closed but used by Cleveland HS; synthetic turf replacement in 2017), Denny MS/Sealth HS (synthetic turf replacement in 2013), Franklin HS (synthetic turf replacement in 2015/16), Ingraham HS (synthetic turf replacement in 2012/13), Memorial Stadium (synthetic turf replacement in 2016), Rainier Beach HS (synthetic turf replacement in 2011), Roosevelt HS (synthetic turf replacement in 2016), Salmon Bay K-8 (synthetic turf replacement in 2015), and Whitman MS (synthetic turf replacement in 2015/17).

  • Washington Park Playfield, Arboretum

    Washington Park Playfield at the south end of the Arboretum was the last conversion in Seattle of a lit sand field to synthetic turf and included improved lights. Completed in January 2013, this multi-use field will accommodate soccer, football, ultimate, lacrosse (men's and women's), and baseball/softball. This project (along with Hundley (High Point) PF and returf of Genesee #2) was funded through the 2008 Parks & Green Spaces Levy as a result of very favorable construction bidding and savings on the other levy athletic fields projects (Delridge, Lower Woodland #2 & #7, & Genesee #1).

  • Maple Leaf Reservoir Lid Park. Maple Leaf Park had a grand opening on October 27, 2014 for the lid park. A large, grassy open space with great views of Mount Rainier and Seattle is available for casual play. Playfield improvements were completed allowing fields to be re-opened for use in spring of 2014. Favorable bids came in allowing DPR to pursue bid alternates to install irrigation and improve baseball backstops and infields at both diamonds. Thanks to Kim Baldwin/DPR PM for following through on those options and RUG Little League for staying on top of it all. Kim was even able to pull off getting grade adjustments done in right field of the west diamond; that will provide much needed extra space for baseball, soccer, and ultimate games - thanks Kim!

We are active in many community and municipal organizations including Seattle Parks' Sportsfield Review Committee (SRC), Seattle Sports Advisory Council (SSAC), and the Parks Levy Oversight Committee. We do all this while endeavoring to keep up with our own sports activities both as players and coaches. Please take whatever time you can to join us in helping the active recreation community improve the quality and quantity of the athletic fields available to both youth and adults. Feel free to contact us via email if you have any questions or want to become more involved.

 

Check out the Current Issues page for the latest news.

 

(last updated June 26, 2014)

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