The welcome mat was out for Kent’s new all-weather rug at one of its most heavily used playfields.
City officials joined school and community youth sports leaders, families and supporters to officially christen the new all-purpose field at a grand reopening of Hogan Park at Russell Road on last Saturday morning.
The city converted the main field at the park, 24400 Russell Road, to synthetic turf from grass for year-round use.
“Lots of great stuff can be played here … multi-sports all year round,” Parks Director Julie Parascondola told the crowd during an on-field ceremony by the baseball mound. “(This) is huge for us because with Washington’s Pacific Northwest climate … there’s rain, rain and rainouts … that’s what we have experienced constantly. … But this allows us to play at least 1,000 more hours annually, all year long.”
Mayor Dana Ralph took the opportunity to thank the many supporters of the project. The new turf, Ralph said, will expand the possibilities for recreational and invitational play – for many groups and sports.
“Could we ask for a better day?” Ralph told the crowd. “This is amazing.”
Ralph joined City Council members – Bill Boyce (lacrosse), Brenda Fincher (softball), Satwinder Kaur (flag football) and Toni Troutner (soccer) – who represented different sports, and former Mayor Suzette Cooke (rugby) to kick and throw ceremonial first shots and pitches at the new field.
The durable field will allow city Parks and Rec to expand its youth and adult programming, provide additional space for Kent School District teams and offer year-round sports at the park, Ralph said. The city anticipates hosting 60 sports tournaments, attracting teams from throughout the country and Canada, and bring in more than 65,000 visitors to the Kent community this year, Ralph said.
The city paid for the project with $962,000 from the parks capital improvement fund (mostly from the real estate excise tax of 0.50 percent on all property sales), a $750,000 grant from the state Recreation and Conservation Office and a $25,000 donation from the Kent Lions Club. The city’s capital fund also will cover the state sales tax of about $173,000 on the contract to Snohomish-based Premier Field Development.
Crews installed a pad under the turf at a cost of about $183,000 to enhance player safety and increase the life-cycle of the field.
Premier Field Development has installed numerous synthetic turf fields across the state, including projects at Kentridge and Kentwood high schools.