Rain, rain, go away. Or stay.
For the folks playing on the new turf infields at Sehmel Homestead Park, it makes little difference either way now.
PenMet Parks officially unveiled new turf infields at Sehmel last week.
“One of the biggest challenges a park district can have this time of year is the weather,” said Eric Guenther, PenMet’s facilities planning and special projects manager. “Sehmel Homestead Park opened in 2010, and for the last six years we have watched too many baseball games get rained out in this community. This year we were able to do something about it.”
PenMet Parks applied for and was successful in receiving a $250,000 Youth Athletic Facilities (YAF) grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO). PenMet used those funds, and matched it with their own, to replace the dirt infields on the baseball field and two softball fields with synthetic turf that reduces rainouts and is even playable in light rain.
The work began in October 2016 and was just completed.
While it doesn’t prevent a game from getting rained out under extreme conditions, it does give the community teams many more hours of play — especially in the early spring and late fall.
Eric Guenther, PenMet Parks facilities planning and special projects manager
“While it doesn’t prevent a game from getting rained out under extreme conditions, it does give the community teams many more hours of play — especially in the early spring and late fall,” Guenther said.
The project also included warning tracks on all three fields, some enhancements to the park’s drainage systems, and roofs have been added to the player bench areas on all three fields.
Both Gig Harbor and Peninsula high schools use the fields as well as PenMet programs and many youth and adult teams in the community.
Before a March 22 Gig Harbor High School baseball game, PenMet board president Kurt Grimmer threw out a ceremonial first pitch, officially re-dedicating the turf field. On the adjacent softball field, clerk of the PenMet board, Steve Nixon, threw out the first pitch prior to a Peninsula High School softball game.
Guenther and PenMet Parks executive director Terry Lee were also on hand to celebrate the opening of the new fields last week.