City discusses sports park options at meeting

November 4, 2008

By Jim Feehan

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Plans for a new sports park in Newcastle show fields for soccer, softball and lacrosse or baseball.   




Plans for a new sports park in Newcastle show fields for soccer, softball and lacrosse or baseball.

Soccer, lacrosse and softball enthusiasts will have several fields to play on in the proposed regional sports park in southwest Newcastle.

Landscape architect Ed MacLeod gave a presentation of the preferred site design among four alternatives at an Oct. 6 meeting at City Hall. Each featured a smaller grass field in the southwest corner of the park and two synthetic turf fields. Alternative D was selected, because it maximized the number of athletic fields. The two synthetic turf fields could be configured to

 accommodate three soccer fields, two softball fields, a lacrosse field or a baseball field.

“This is one of the few sites for athletic fields in Newcastle,” MacLeod said.

The 34-acre site borders May Creek Park and has some ravines and steep slopes, with about 14 acres available for sports fields, he said.

Other amenities include restrooms, concession stands and a Frisbee golf course area. An off-leash dog area is also being considered.

The proposed park would also have two viewpoints north of the synthetic fields that look out at neighboring May Creek Park.

“People can enjoy the view of the woods,” said Lauren Perry, a landscape architect at MacLeod Reckord.

The park will also have an area where leashed dogs can walk, she said.

The synthetic turf fields would be lit, while the smaller Little League field would have no lighting, MacLeod said.

The synthetic field has a sand-and-rubber base similar to Qwest Field and Husky Stadium. The synthetic fields would be lit (accommodating more hours of usage) because they can withstand more wear and tear compared to a grass field, MacLeod said.

About a dozen people attended the meeting.

“This is a great-looking plan,” Mayor Ben Varon said.

Neighbors of the park voiced their concern about traffic and lighting. Still others said they were concerned about parking.

“We’ve allowed for 15 cars per team,” MacLeod said. “I believe we got that covered.”

The wooded area with some open meadows was a former gravel pit for the Interstate 90 construction project at Mercer Island. 

A steering committee was formed in April to determine the best use for the space. The committee is made up of representatives from sports groups, parks commissioners and Parks Department staffers.

MacLeod will present the plan to the Parks Commission on Nov. 12. The commission will decide whether to approve the plan and then send that to the City Council.

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