For the Gig Harbor Sports Complex, the ball is still rolling. The parks department put the Master Plan on pause for a couple weeks in April to apply for grants, after receiving city council approval to move forward.
The first is a $500,000 grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and the second is a $350,000 Youth Athletic Facilities grant. Both are match grants. The grants, along with help from the Tom Taylor YMCA and other partners, would go a long way toward making the project a reality.
The parks department is still working on finalizing a master plan, which will be split into three phases. The first phase will include two large lit turf fields; paths around the fields; a 2,000-square-foot playground; three covered picnic shelters; some sport courts and a large, grass field for activities like bocce ball; a restroom/concession structure with additional parking; paved and unpaved trails linking the entire site; and a large pavilion west of the YMCA.
The parks commission will give a presentation later this month to the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. By April 2019, the city will need to show where the match dollars will come from. If all goes smoothly, the money would be available in July 2019.
City of Gig Harbor’s parks manager Katrina Knutson said it was important for the department to slow things down with the master plan while applying for the grants, to ensure all the focus was on securing the grant money.
That’s why the final public meeting, which was scheduled for May 7, has been pushed back. It will occur possibly later this month, or in early June.
“If I’m having 100, 150 people come to a meeting, I want there to be a purpose,” Knutson said. “We heard input from the public and the parks made their recommendation. When we had phase one completed, that’s what we’re focusing on for grants. We kind of hit the pause button to work on submitting good grant applications. Now we’re working on finalizing master plan.”
Knutson wants to make sure they get this right.
“We’re not in a big rush,” she said. “We have some more time to slow down a tiny bit to make sure we get it right. But we are definitely still working on it.”
Knutson reiterated the community’s need for lit turf fields and additional recreation space.
“What we’re trying to do is fill a need,” Knutson said. “There are currently three turf fields in all of Gig Harbor, and only two of them have lights. We’re trying to play a bit of catchup. The first phase will definitely help alleviate the pressure.”
The second phase would be a renovation of the Gig Harbor Little League fields, which the city recently purchased, adding turf and changing the configuration to allow for soccer, lacrosse, football or other uses when Little League isn’t in season.
The potential third phase would concern the seven acres to the south of the YMCA. The parks department is still in discussions with the mayor and council regarding the best use of that space.
The sports community has long clamored for additional lit turf fields, so progress — even slow progress — is a positive for those who would like to see the project come to fruition.