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Park district strives to meet March deadline for fields project

The Vashon Park District must complete thousands of dollars of work at its athletic fields project by March 31 to take advantage of a state grant worth $21,000 that it was awarded a few years ago.

At a board meeting as well as an interview last week, park district board Chair Bill Ameling and park district Executive Director Jan Milligan said they believe much of the needed work will be provided free of charge by Islanders who support the $1.7 million project north of town.

But the park district, which still owes money to contractors for work done last fall on the project, will need to pay at least $55,000 in cash for some of the work, Milligan and Ameling said.

Milligan said she feels confident the district, which is poised to receive a loan from a bank in Cashmere in anticipation of its April infusion of tax revenue, will be able to cover the costs of the work.

The grant, from the state Recreation and Conservation Office, has been extended three times over the last few years, she said.

“It’s doable,” Milligan said. “It’s within reach.”

The work includes what Ameling called “mostly shovel work,” as well as fencing and concrete work. Once completed, it will mark the culmination of the first phase of the project.

As it stands now, the fields won’t be playable this spring for baseball, but park district officials expect the grass will be far enough along for soccer this fall.

The next phase of the project — which will be covered by a $500,000 state grant as well as money from the park district — includes state-of-the-art lighting and bathrooms. The park district has gotten one extension on the grant; Milligan said she expects to get an additional extension.

Meanwhile, Milligan said, the district is making headway on its outstanding bills from 2011, when it ran out revenue. It currently owes around $83,000 to six contractors for last fall’s work, according to a list she provided to The Beachcomber.  Most, if not all, of those bills will be paid once the district gets its loan, which Ameling called a routine process for the park district.

“We’re going to pay what we need to pay,” he said.

 

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