City eyes Kalles for potential multipurpose sports fields

Partnership between school district and Puyallup favored by council

Staff writerApril 23, 2014 

Development of three multipurpose fields at Kalles Junior High School to be shared by the Puyallup School District and the city of Puyallup recently received favorable attention by members of the City Council.

“It is a desire by the district to be good partners with the city,” said Tim Yeomans, school district superintendent. “I think there is good potential with this.”

The development of the fields at Kalles, which would include artificial turf and lighting, is considered by the city’s parks, recreation and facilities staff as a potential option to fill the need for five-multipurpose fields that could be used for soccer, football and lacrosse.

This need was identified by staff during the process of updating the city’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space plan. The plan was adopted by the council in late February and provides a six-year vision for parks and facilities. The plan also found the city to have a deficit of two baseball fields, one softball field and an additional gymnasium.

Sarah Harris, parks and recreation administrator for the city, said a potential exists for a baseball field on the three multipurpose fields at Kalles, using different colored turf. About 1,200 youths participate in the city’s baseball leagues.

Harris said $6 million would be the rough estimate for construction of a Kalles complex.

“The nice thing about it is that it is a complex you can use 365 days a year,” Harris said.

City Manager Bill McDonald said the Puyallup School District would provide the field and infrastructure, while the city would cover the cost of maintenance.

Yeomans said tournaments there four to five times a year would fill hotels. Yeomans explained the city could use the fields in the evenings and on weekends and also through the summer.

Council member John Palmer was the first to chime in, saying he liked the idea. He also said lodging tax funding would be perfect for this. Council member Tom Swanson countered, saying bonding would be the way to go.

“I’m not convinced the only option is going for a bond,” Palmer said. “The thing that is nice about this is I think we can get this project going quickly if we put our heads together.”

Council member Steve Vermillion also was pleased.

“This seems to be the biggest bang for the buck,” he said. “Because we’re just putting in a surface. I like partnering with the schools because it’s a win-win for us across the board.”

Deputy Mayor John Hopkins said he would not like to see capital improvements plan funding used. Rather, he said, packing several projects in a bond would be more feasible.

“It looks much more attractive bundling up projects,” Hopkins said.

Swanson said using lodging tax revenue wouldn’t be suitable for a less regional field such as Kalles.

Other potential partnerships included an additional multipurpose field at Puyallup High School and the construction of two-multipurpose fields at the Pierce College Puyallup campus.

The option of repurposing the city-owned Flaherty property off of Shaw Road and 12th Avenue Southeast for a potential multipurpose field development did not gain any traction. Council members were discouraged by the need to conduct a wetland study to consider whether the land was even viable.

Harris said a wetland study would cost the city $6,500 to $10,000.

An alternate property to repurpose is adjacent to the Puyallup Recreation Center on Valley Avenue. No other properties are optioned at this time.

Andrew Fickes: 253-552-7001 andrew.fickes @puyallupherald.com Twitter: @herald_andrew

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