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:
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 and building new fields at Magnuson Park (maybe not). However, there are no guarantees on any of this so field user support is always a good thing. Feel free to send email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or voice your public input at the 6pm start of the meetings (see website for the schedule). Face time makes more of an impression but you only get 2 minutes of fame and sign-ups fill early.
See Current Issues for more on recent developments.
The Committee will be making interim recommendations by the end of the year to City Council and the Mayor. Committee meetings are typically held at either Parks HQ at 100 Dexter or at Miller Community Center (check the website) scheduled for October 3 & 17, November 7 & 21, December 5 & 12 on into March 2014. Get involved if you want better athletic fields.
Parks Legacy Public Hearing: Thursday, November 7th, Miller Community Center
A big thanks to all of you that spoke at the hearing and sent email comments! Field users submitted the largest number of comments by far (more than double the next group) and it has influenced some thinking. DPR issued a public announcement on October 28th that included important background materials on all the initiatives in consideration and costs; check it out. DPR issued another news release on November 1st that provided preliminary priorities on initiatives by three subcommittees. All of this information and more is regularly posted at the Legacy Committee webpage.
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.
For the primary election, the Seattle Parks Foundation conducted a good survey of the Mayoral candidates regarding parks issues including maintenance needs and funding options. Check out the details by drilling into links on each candidate's name and SPF provides an excellent "high level summary" at the end.
Seattle Parks Legacy Plan
The Seattle Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) posted an updated draft of the Parks Legacy Plan on their website on June 25, 2013. This version incorporates input from the many public meetings conducted in May and presents numerous policy goals for "maintaining the legacy". Here are some of the comments that DPR captured at the meetings:
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 (email@example.com) and/or Joe Green (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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/.
King County Parks Levy Approved!
Thank you King County citizens for voting overwhelmingly in August 2013 for the King County Parks Levy. As mentioned before, King County eliminated all funding for King County Parks from their general fund in 2010 and this levy will provide critical funding (85% of the parks budget) for parks operations and maintenance.
More info here (see FAQs): King County 2013 Parks Levy
Parks and Recreation Coalition (PARC): Vote YES on King County Proposition One
Field Construction Project Updates:
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 November 28, 2013)