Mayor's Athletic Fields Summit
August 22, 2012
In general, Seattle Parks (DPR) and the Mayor’s and City Council’s representatives had good news. The meeting was well attended by government officials (about 50/50 split) and it would have been nice for more field users to be on hand to let them know their thoughts.
DPR made a presentation using the attached powerpoint and the following are some additional comments about select slides. See the powerpoint for the entire presentation.
#1: Seasonality vs. Supply/Demand – DPR has accommodated some new/up-and-coming and non-traditional sports (i.e. kickball, ultimate). Out of season surcharges will generally remain in place. DPR does not have a good handle on supply vs. demand and more effort may be coming to try and quantify that situation. Decision makers and the public are always asking about how much demand there actually is and whether it is being met.
#4: Historical Usage & Block Scheduling: DPR has limited staffing and block scheduling will remain as the best means for them to schedule fields. Preferential scheduling based on historical use was not addressed in much detail.
#5: Adult usage (more access needed): DPR stated that youth play is a priority with the Joint Use Agreement. However, SPS does not restrict adults on their fields; DPR DOES restrict adult play to almost strictly synthetic fields. DPR also claimed that greater use of synthetic turf has increased adult access. However, almost all synth fields replaced sand (“all-weather”) fields that could be played on year-round already. More can and should be done in my opinion.
Seattle DPR Fields: 59% natural grass; 14% “skinned”/dirt; 17% synthetic turf
#1: Game-Day Athletic Field Preparation Program or Game Day Prep (GDP) was started in 2011. Field Users/Leagues provided 18,800 hours of volunteer labor in one year to help with fields maintenance and upgrades. That is an amazing number; great job!!
DPR also has a stewardship program, kind of like adopt-a-park, that benefits the fields and the teams/leagues that volunteer.
#2: The Sports Champ will be used for more intensive synthetic turf maintenance that will prolong the life of the turf (maybe by a couple of years). DPR stepped up in establishing this synth turf maintenance program; thank you Seattle Parks!
DPR handed out a synthetic turf maintenance schedule (by field) and a proposed synthetic field replacement schedule.
Both DPR and the Mayor’s rep stated that no field fee increases will be needed for 2013 – yay! Keep an eye on the Seattle budget process to follow the latest news (you just never know how things may go): http://www.seattle.gov/council/budget/.
Other Discussion Topics:
Attendant Fee: Schools should eliminate the fee for the attendant, who is not necessary and makes fields more expensive.
Field schedule conflicts and security: Parks has a Security Officer that all teams should have the phone number to. There are also the Athletic Field Coordinators (Raft and Joe) and the Parks Duty Officer. Parks will try to make other staff available later in the day if necessary. Parks was asked to post schedules at the fields to address conflicts with drop-in users. SPD should be called if significant issues or concerns. Perhaps store belongings in the storage boxes during games.