The city of Gig Harbor is finalizing a purchase of 11.5 acres of land north of the YMCA, as part of its larger project to create a Gig Harbor Sports Complex.
The city got the ball rolling in July, when it acquired the Gig Harbor Little League Fields. Now, the purchase of the property north of the Tom Taylor YMCA from Olympic Property Group has the city well on its way to realizing its eventual goal.
“It’s enormous,” said Gig Harbor City Councilman Tim Payne, who has been the Council’s most vocal proponent of the project. “You’re taking it out of the development equation, for starters. Two, we’re turning this into a public asset. And three, it gives us more flexibility to put in a picnic shelter, accessible play structures, pickle ball courts.”
The primary purpose of the park will be to have several significant multi-use, lit turf fields for active youth and adults, year-round. The city will have land north and south of the YMCA, and plans to partner with the YMCA, and possibly the Peninsula School District, to make all of the land into one, binding site plan.
“I think this will give us the opportunity to create three, significant multi-use fields for active youth and adults, all year around,” Payne said. “It will give the YMCA the ability to do programming that they’d like to do outside. It’ll give those that want to be close to nature on the walking trails the ability to connect to this.”
It will also connect to the Cushman Trail, meaning someone could potentially ride a bike (or walk) from downtown, all the way to the sports complex, and to the adjacent trails to the east of the property.
The biggest winners in all of this are likely local sports clubs. Peninsula Youth Football, Harbor Soccer, Gig Harbor Lacrosse, etc., will all benefit immensely from having more lit field space.
“It’s a thing of legend how people fight for time on the turf fields at Gig Harbor High and Roy Anderson,” Payne said. “The whole community of sports is just super stoked for it.”
Payne also said he believes the complex will also be a boon for the local economy.
“It’ll be an economic driver for hotels, restaurants,” Payne said. “And these fields are money makers for the community. There’s so much demand right now.”
The city will create a master plan for the property, most likely in the first half of 2018.
“We’ve laid the foundation,” Payne said. “The follow through has to happen. You’ve got willing partners. The YMCA, potentially the school district, Harbor Soccer, PYF, Little League, Harbor Lacrosse — all of these organizations want to financially participate. They want to help create something they can use. I’m expecting this to be a true partnership.”