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Playfields organizers seek second phase
More parking and bathrooms may come to the Albert Haller Playfields as soon as the end of summer.
Organizers with Sequim Family Advocates, a nonprofit which fundraised and petitioned for the fields to alleviate wear on other playfields in Sequim, are raising funds for Phase 2 of their project next to the Water Reuse Demonstration Site.
In the plans are 64 parking spaces west of the James Center for the Performing Arts, 29 spaces on North Rhodefer Road and a 1,249-square-foot bathroom and storage facility near the southwest corner of the fields.
Dave Shreffler with the advocacy group said its goal this summer is to be finished before the Dungeness Cup on Aug. 1-3, but scheduling of other events like Sequim Lavender Farm Fair will postpone construction.
“It largely depends on the city permitting process,” he said. “We’re hoping to get going in mid-August.”
Prior to the original project’s approval with the Sequim City Council, several hundred community members petitioned to leave the site as is while current councilors at their May 27 meeting expressed concerns for maintenance and vandalism of the bathroom.
City councilors previously approved plans for the second phase with the first phase of the fields and parking spaces in 2011.
Special projects manager Joe Irvin with the City of Sequim said councilors will have final say again when he brings construction plans back sometime tentatively in July to one of their meetings. However, plans for a concession stand next to the bathroom have been abandoned.
Phase 2, Irvin said, also includes safety improvements to the playfields such as moving the Olympic Discovery Trail crossing up Rhodefer Road to help prevent pedestrian and vehicle crossing mishaps.
Parking spaces by the James Center will use a grass/pavement material that can be driven, parked and walked on while the proposed parking on Rhodefer Road will be chipsealed over an irrigation ditch.
The playfields’ proposed restrooms will host two unisex ADA compliant stalls open at all times with more stalls open during special events.
Irvin said the costs to the city will include nearly four more hours per week of janitorial services, additional toiletries and annual maintenance.
In the agreement between the city and the advocacy group, the city pays for reused water in the toilets and any electricity inside but the city won’t pay for any construction and change in electricity use such as adding lighting.
Shreffler said free standing poles around the playfields aren’t part of the plan.
“It isn’t now and never has been,” he said. “We have no current plans after this. As far as our vision for what we had envisioned, (Phase 2) would complete it.”
For now, the advocacy group continues to negotiate with project partners for financial and in-kind support, Shreffler said.
“We’re confident we will get it,” he said.
He said a cost estimate wasn’t available yet for Phase 2.
So far, the Sequim City Band, which predominately uses the James Center, and the city’s parks and recreation board approved the advocacy group’s proposal.
Irvin said the city, the advocacy group and city band held multiple meetings about the project, which accommodates the band’s proposed plans for a new practice space.
As for standards with the Department of Ecology, Irvin said the project doesn’t require a full impact study but will be reviewed by the State Environmental Policy Act that city staff will work on.
Shreffler said the playfields remain a phenomenal success.
“It’s beyond what we ever imagined,” he said.
“The school district fields were heavily used and over used, and had some real problems of safety and playability. Since a lot of that use has shifted to Albert Haller Fields, the district fields have had an opportunity to heal with the exception of the high school field, which is a whole separate issue.”
The advocacy group’s upcoming Dungeness Cup has grown from 25 teams in 2012 to anticipating 100 teams this year, he said.
Yet, Shreffler said the playfields also host spillover for community concerts at the James Center, special events, some lacrosse play, soccer clinics and leagues, and everyday uses like walking dogs, picnicking, frisbees and flying radio controlled planes.
“It’s the biggest and best piece of flat, open grassy space in the city,” he said.
For more on Sequim Family Advocates and the Dungeness Cup, visit www.dungenesscup.com.
For more information, contact the City of Sequim at 683-4139 or visit www.sequimwa.gov.