Photo by Jessica Keller: Workers remove synthetic turf at the Queen Anne Bowl Playfield on Third Avenue West in Queen Anne, Friday afternoon. The playfield is slated to receive new synthetic turf. The field will be closed while the project is completed, sometime in November.
Photo by Jessica Keller: Workers remove synthetic turf at the Queen Anne Bowl Playfield on Third Avenue West in Queen Anne, Friday afternoon. The playfield is slated to receive new synthetic turf. The field will be closed while the project is completed, sometime in November.

Although the Seattle Parks & Recreation Department announced a number of capital improvements projects would be delayed this year, some are still on schedule.

Last week, workers began removing the artificial turf at the Queen Anne Bowl Playfield, 2806 Third Avenue West in Queen Anne. The playfield is currently closed for construction, which will replace the aging turf with a “new, state-of-the-art synthetic turf system” and make other structural repairs. The project should be complete in November.

According to the city website, Seattle Parks & Rec assessed all of the synthetic fields in 2018. The results of the study were used to determine which projects should receive priority for replacement and funding.

The turf replacement at the Queen Anne Bowl was packaged with field replacement projects in the city: Lower Woodlands Playfields 2 and 7; Magnuson Park-Mickey Merriam Playfields 6 and 7; and Loyal Heights Playfield. According to the city website, the city budgeted $10.6 million for the projects, which use Real-estate Excise Tax II and Seattle Park District funds.

According to the website, the next tier of artificial turf replacement projects will begin in 2021: Magnuson Park-Mickey Merriam Playfield 9 — infield only; Hiawatha Playfield; Miller Playfield and Georgetown Playfield.

Queen Anne Community Council Parks Committee Chairman Don Harper said in an email, this will be the third time the playfield turf has been replaced since it was first installed in 1997.

“The benefits of artificial turf to the community is in the length of play and versatility of the field,” Harper said in his email.

He said, with grass turf, the city will get an average of 700 hours of play each year and the field will require more scheduled maintenance. Artificial turf will yield 2,200 hours of play when coupled with lights, Harper said in his email, adding the turf is not suffer the damage that grass turf will whether it is wet or dry.

At the Queen Anne Community Council meeting last week, Parker Dawson, district 7 director for Seattle City Councilmember Andrew Lewis, reported that other projects in Queen Anne are also in the works, including renovation of the Queen Anne Community Center.

Dawson said, while Lewis is following up with the Parks & Recreation department on funding for other stalled parks projects, the Queen Anne Community Center should see significant construction sometime next year. He said the construction will not be a complete tear down and rebuild. Instead, it will be an extensive renovation.

According to the project website, the preliminary scope of the renovation includes, among other things, roof replacement in certain areas; masonry stabilization; updated signage; a restroom remodel on the main floor; a pottery room renovation; and kitchen remodel to update and improve accessibility.

Go to www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us/current-projects/community-center-stabilization-overview/queen-anne-community-center-stabilization for more information on that project.

Harper said a renovation project, even if it is expanded, would only serve as a “Band-Aid” but would not fix all the problems.

“They know, and we know and the parks department knows that we know and the Queen Anne
Community Center Board knows what needs to happen is it would probably be cheaper to tear down the community center and rebuild it,” Harper said after the meeting.

Harper said the community center is the third busiest in the city, although he is fairly certain it is the busiest when visits to the pool, which is not housed in the same building, are counted. Harper said, at some point, it will be less expensive to rebuild the community center than to piecemeal the project through renovations.

Harper said the Queen Anne Community Center project is already overdue, but if parks officials are going to push off remodeling beyond 10 years, then the renovation is necessary in the interim.

“The community center project will happen because, if they don’t, then I think it’s going to be a problem because those are repairs that need to happen,” Harper said.

At last month’s Magnolia Community Council meeting, Dawson reported that the Magnolia Community Center is also set to be renovated next year.

He said possible renovations were first considered in 2016 or 2017, but the list of upgrades deemed necessary turned into a substantial list. Renovations include enhancements to the gym area, the roof, windows, screening and entryway.

“From what I heard, it’s never gone through major upgrades since it was built in the 1950s,” Dawson said in September.

He said the final design for the project could be completed at the end of this year. Construction could begin as early as next May or June and take nine to 12 months to complete.

At the moment, plans to complete Smith Cove Park remain postponed, although that project is of interest to both the Queen Anne and Magnolia community councils. Dawson reported last week, however, that Lewis intends to lobby the parks department to get that back on the funding list.