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County may save soccer fields from development



Jeff Pitman plays, coaches, referees and lives soccer.

As a volunteer, Pitman has nearly 15 years invested in two soccer fields in Agnew, from their initial construction to their ongoing maintenance.

But the fields are not his, nor do they belong to the Storm King Soccer club, of which he is president.

A community organization, the Agnew Helpful Neighbors Club, owns the land and they are going to put it up for sale very soon.

“The Helpful Neighbors are being very considerate about the change,” Pitman said to the Clallam County Parks board May 6. “They are offering the fields to the county first in order to make the best effort to keep the land in use for soccer.”

The soccer fields sit on about seven acres of land at 1240 N. Barr Road just south of Old Olympic Highway. The parks board, county parks staff and Clallam County commissioners have shown a lot of interest in keeping the land undeveloped.

“These fields were set up by volunteers and are maintained by volunteers and it seems little would change in that respect other than the county having ownership of the land,” Commissioner Steve Tharinger said at a May 12 study session. “They are in great shape and are constantly utilized by the communities to the east and west.”

The field’s central location on the North Olympic Peninsula makes it ideal for community soccer games. The location is dry and when volunteers constructed the fields they set up adequate drainage to make the fields available nearly year-round.

“The county can ill afford to lose two soccer fields, especially those constructed to this level of quality,” Public Works director Craig Jacobs said to commissioners. “I think if we were to pursue constructing two fields of this caliber at another location, we would be looking at a cost similar to what we would pay for this land.”

Jacobs wasn’t ready to make an estimate on the cost. He said the fields need to be appraised before the county considers the actual purchase. So far the parks board and county commissioners have approved the idea, placing it on a list of projects the parks department is pursuing.

“The Helpful Neighbors have made it clear they will not list the land for sale until the county has been able to explore its ability to purchase the land,” Pitman said.

The Agnew Helpful Neighbors Club will use the profits from the land sale to subsidize its already existing scholarship program.

Parks department staff filed the appropriate paperwork to apply for grants from the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office to offset the cost of the land but will not know if they qualify for weeks.

For more information regarding Clallam County’s parks board or its board of commissioners, visit www.clallam.net and click on the associated title under the “departments” section.

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