News

‘A very good week’

by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Sequim Gazette

The end may be in sight for the Sequim Family Advocates’ fundraising effort to build eight new playing fields at the City of Sequim’s Water Reuse Demonstration Park.

 

Advocates board member Craig Stevenson said he had “a very good week,” depositing a $102,000 check from the Albert Haller Foundation and picking up a $5,000 check from the Sequim Lions Club.

 

Altogether the group now has $220,000 cash in hand to go toward the construction project. Local companies and individuals have pledged another $150,000 of “in-kind” goods and services.

 

The new recreational facilities will be called the Albert Haller Playfields to honor Haller’s memory.

City signs on

The multi-use playfield site plan was developed in a cooperative effort by the City of Sequim and Sequim Family Advocates. The fields will be built on 14 acres of currently unimproved land in the City of Sequim’s Water Reuse Demonstration Park, which is located just north of Carrie Blake Park.

 

The new facility will provide Sequim with playing fields that can be used for soccer, football, lacrosse and more, including three smaller fields for the youngest players. Stevenson noted the fields will be the first built in the city since the 1970s, even though there has been explosive growth in youth sports leagues.

 

The new playfields have been the subject of some controversy. In the summer of 2010 a petition with more than 130 signatures was filed with the City of Sequim seeking to halt the project. Jeff Edwards, city parks manager, said the project had been discussed at several council meetings before being unanimously approved in May 2010 by the councilors. He said the petition was filed too late.

 

“It’s well past that point,” Edwards told the Gazette.

 

In order to ensure the project doesn’t infringe on the Olympic Discovery Trail, the Advocates also have agreed to extend the walking trail from the reclamation pond to the city bandshell and the James Center for the Performing Arts. Two portions of the existing trail will be shifted to allow for the rectangular playfields.

 

A new parking area with 100 spots, including spaces for those with disabilities, also will be added.

No structures are scheduled to be built in this first phase of the project.

 

Stevenson said he hopes to see more funds flowing in over the next weeks, allowing the group to announce the successful completion of the fundraising effort.

Reach Mark Couhig at mcouhig@sequimgazette.com.

 

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