Baseball season generally runs from early spring all the way until early or late fall. Turns out, it rains a lot during that time period in the Pacific Northwest.
Hence the shift toward artificial turf infields for baseball fields. Because who wants to play baseball in a mud pit? Not Gig Harbor folks, evidently.
PenMet Parks is currently putting in three new artificial turf infields at Sehmel Homestead Park — one baseball and two softball fields. Also being replaced with artificial turf are the warning tracks on each field.
“Artificial baseball fields are the trend (in the Pacific Northwest),” said PenMet Parks executive director Terry Lee. “We’ll be able to use the fields in inclement weather. It will allow for a lot more use.”
The project, which started in November, is slated to be finished by the end of February, just in time for baseball season.
“It looks like they’re on target to finish in time,” Lee said.
The project currently remains within the $750,000 budget. PenMet received a $250,000 grant for the project, helping to lower PenMet’s cost for the project to about $500,000. Sehmel is the only park receiving new turf fields right now, although the Harbor Family Park property remains on the list of things to do.
PenMet entered an MOU with the Harbor Soccer Club to transform the 38-acre forested park in unincorporated Gig Harbor into an athletic complex, complete with lighted synthetic fields for various sports. The project would require the Harbor Soccer Club to raise $5 million. If raised, PenMet would contribute $4 million into development of the park, with future financial commitments likely.
“(Harbor soccer) has received some grants,” Lee said. “They’ve got quite a ways to go.”