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:

 

Parks Legacy Citizens Advisory Committee Recommendations

What projects should be included in the August 2014 ballot measure?  Go to Legacy Committee webpage for the complete list; there are projects included for replacing synthetic "carpets" when they wear out at the end of their ten-year life (12 playfields) and 13 other playfield maintenance upgrade projects, finally Smith Cove playfield pegged to get real development funding, and a second Sport Champ synthetic maintenance grooming machine are all in the mix. <see CURRENT ISSUES for more details on fields initiatives>

How big should the package be? How much are you willing to pay in taxes for Seattle Parks?  $58 million annually for the entire list

What mechanism should be used to help fund Seattle Parks and Recreation? Levy (short-term, permanent)? Metropolitan Parks District?  MPD won the day as a long-term stable source of funding for tackling the $270M maintenance backlog, restore DPR to proper levels of operational support for Community Centers and other programs, boost maintenance of new and existing facilities, meet contractual maintenance upkeep obligations, and implement other important projects

 

The Legacy Plan Citizens Advisory Committee has completed its work and our recommendations along with the Final Report have been transmitted to Mayor Murray and City Council. The Mayor will make his recommendation to City Council by March 18th and then Council's Select Committee on Parks Funding will finalize all assuming they decide to move forward with an August ballot measure, which most signs point to.

The Select Committee on Parks Funding will be meeting on the following dates including a public hearing on April 7th. Feel free to let CM Sally Bagshaw and the rest know your thoughts about what should be included in the package and the funding method.

 

Parks Funding Telephone Survey - January 2014

In January, the Seattle Parks Foundation, Associated Recreation Council, Seattle Aquarium, and Woodland Park Zoo commissioned EMC Research to conduct a survey of Seattle voters to determine:

  • Citizens' appetite for establishing a Metropolitan Parks District in Seattle; and

  • what level of funding for park and recreation services they are willing to support.

The interesting public polling results show good support for an MPD as well as Seattle Parks in general and for higher levels of funding for parks. Read all about it here (click on image in middle of the page): https://support.seattleparksfoundation.org/pages/advocacy/mpd-polling

 

Mayor Murray's Parks Funding

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

 

Select Committee on Parks Funding

Consisting of the full City Council and chaired by CM Sally Bagshaw, the Select Committee on Parks Funding is moving forward with recommendations of the Mayor and the Legacy Committee through March and April with decisions coming on whether to put a measure on the ballot in August, what projects to include and at what funding level, and what mechanism to consider - all for public vote.

Parks Funding Committee webpage:  http://www.seattle.gov/council/issues/ParksFunding/default.html

 

  • Monday, March 31: 2:30 p.m. (after Full Council)

  • Monday, April 7: 6:00 pm, City Hall = PUBLIC HEARING

  • Monday, April 14: 2:30 p.m. (after Full Council)

  • Monday, April 28: 2:30 p.m. (after Full Council)

Stay tuned:  http://www.seattle.gov/council/com_assign.htm#parksfunding

Seattle Parks Legacy Committee - Potential Fields Funding

Seattle Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) has formed the Parks Legacy Citizens Committee in parallel with the Parks Legacy Plan effort (see below) and in response to City Council's request to consider future funding options and a possible 2014 parks funding ballot measure (go to the Committee webpage at http://www.seattle.gov/parks/legacy/committee.htm for complete agenda, minutes, and presentation materials). Our board president, Bill Farmer, is serving on the Legacy Committee that will be assessing potential projects, or "initiatives" as they're being called, and funding method options: short-term, long-term, or permanent levy and Metropolitan Parks District. There are many initiatives that include funds for upgrading and maintaining athletic fields. City Council will take this all up next and there are no guarantees on any of this so field user support is always a good thing.

Seattle Mayor and City Council Electeds

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.

 

2014 City Council Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries, & Gender Pay Equity Committee:

CM Jean Godden, Chair

CM Bruce Harrell, Vice-Chair

CM Tom Rasmussen

CM Kshama Sawant, Alternate

 

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.

 

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]

 

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:

  • 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.

  • 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 are being finalized with the fields scheduled to be open for use in the 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!

  • 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. 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 has adjusted some pathways 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).

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 March 22, 2014)

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