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:
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
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Joe Green (email@example.com) 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/.
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 March 22, 2014)