2013 Athletic Field Summit Meeting Notes
August 12th, 2013
3:30-5:00 PM Norman B Rice Room of City Hall

Parks, Mayor’s Office, a representative from CM Bagshaw’s Staff, Council Central Staff, Central Budget Office, and a number of field users met to discuss ongoing work with ball field users. The objective from this meeting was to provide a report out on scheduling, maintenance and field fees. In addition, a representative from Central Budget Office gave a brief report on the Statement of Legislative Intent related to Athletic Field Fees.

Participants brought up a number of ongoing and emerging issues. These are listed below—not in order of priority.

      Field Scheduling Software: Users asked where this was in the decision making process and how to get it up and running. Many, but not all users would like it expanded from a pilot and implemented. There is recognition by users that some groups may try to get fields for free with the tool, but guarantees space will still need to be reserved in advance. Parks will review the resources needed to expand the pilot.

      Citywide Athletic Fields Planning:  Desire to have an overall athletic fields master plan to guide future investments in increasing field availability in the city as the population and demand increases. Suggested projects by user groups include Magnuson Park, Smith Cove, and potentially Roosevelt Reservoir.

      Synthetic fund replacement: Generally, many users would like to know that filed use fees are going to improve the fields. Asked if it makes sense to do a dedicated fund? The athletic field SLI gave a cost analysis. Questions on the athletic fields SLI should be directed to central budget office analyst Jeff Muhm at jeff.muhm@seattle.gov.

      Historical use: The historic use policy came up as an issue in the meeting. There was a call for greater transparency of the allocation process. Parks understands everyone’s concerns, and there is always tension as field space is limited. To aid on issues of transparency, parks field scheduling policy is attached.

      Seattle Cricket league expressed desire to have a permanent home for cricket club. They are currently located at Magnuson Park.

      No Seattle Public Schools representative at the summit/ schedule viewer and more generally problems with SPS. SPS controls a majority of fields in Seattle but their primary focus and mission is education, not sports field allocation. Mayor’s Office will bring this up at monthly check in with SPS administration and report back to users. 

      Consequences of groups running camps without paying—free rider problems. If you see this happening please report to Parks Dept. Athletic Scheduling.

      Concerns about parking at Queen Anne Bowl and Interbay expressed given sale of parking lot and increased construction. Parking continues to be an ongoing concern in the city. Parks is looking into signage to prevent Interbay lot from being used by non-Parks users.  

      Synthetic field construction model, Portland cost-savings information to be sent to Parks. Ed sent to Cheryl, parks athletics and maintenance will evaluate.  Always looking for effective cost-saving models.

      Sport Champ use and cost analysis requested. Parks reported out on field maintenance schedule and management structure plan for maintaining the fields.

      Users asked Parks to document lessons learned on synthetic field maintenance and replacement needed for optimal field quality.

      There should be recognition by the City for the valuable work (volunteer maintenance, coaching, and general youth opportunities) that leagues provide to the city. Agreed, we are looking at ways of recognizing the hard work of athletic program volunteers.

      Natural grass improvements—drainage, irrigation, etc. for the fields that are natural grass. Parks recognizes this. As the economy recovers the maintenance budget is slowly being restored.

      Bobby Morris Playfield and Cal Anderson Park: Parks added two additional Park Rangers to patrol both Cal Anderson and Occidental Park because of rising public safety concerns in the park. In order to specifically address problems at Bobby Morris playfield, parks started a pilot “Ball Field Attendant” program at the field. The program will be evaluated post fall season--the goal is for users to have a safe experience on the field.