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Park district to break ground on fields project
The Vashon Park District will break ground on its $1.3 million fields project with a golden shovel ceremony this weekend.
Though the district has garnered several large state and county grants to fund the creation of a large athletic fields complex by The Harbor School, it has been slow to meet its goal of raising $300,000 in community donations, having garnered about $115,000 to date.
Park district director Wendy Braicks said the agency has the funds to complete the first phase of the project, which includes the groundwork and grass of all the fields and the construction of a baseball field. Work on that phase will begin next week.
Construction of phases two and three, which will include the rest of the sports fields, a parking area, field lights and restroom facilities, will likely be pushed back, Braicks said. The district recently applied to extend a $500,000 state grant to assure that the money will still be available at a later time.
“Its looks like we’re going to get that,” Braicks said.
The district continues to sell naming rights to the fields and parts of the complex as well as pavers — one-foot-square concrete slabs that will tile the Player’s Plaza in the middle of the complex and can be engraved with a name or drawing. The fundraising committee is also working to plan summer events to raise funds for the project.
“That will bring people’s interest and attention to the project as well,” Braicks said.
Braicks said the district also hopes to receive significant in-kind donations; community members may even help build some parts of the field.
“There will be a number of ways we can save money,” she said.
She said as the district prepared to break ground, she was feeling good about the project.
“Everyone wants to see it go, so hopefully when it gets down to the wire and we need the money it will be there,” she said.
Parks commissioner David Hackett said he isn’t concerned about the project’s funding yet, expecially since the district expects construction bids to come in lower than originally planned.
The district hopes the fields will be usable by sometime in 2012, Braicks said, though growth of the grass depends in part on the weather.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the Vashon Fields will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 11, at the fields site by The Harbor School. For information on how to donate to the project, visit www.vashonparkdistrict.org.