Community Government

City seeking bids for sports complex design; construction could begin by end of year

Posted on January 17th, 2022 By:

Bids are due at 3 p.m. Tuesday for a contractor to design and permit Phase 1B of Gig Harbor’s sports complex.

Phase 1B, the city’s part of the complex, is approximately 3.4 acres and, according to the request for quotes, includes pickleball and bocce ball courts, playgrounds, pavilions and a grassy open space. One of the requirements is that design, permitting and plans, specifications and estimates (PS&E) be completed this year, with construction scheduled to begin either late this year or early in 2023.

Over several years, the city purchased 30-plus acres in Gig Harbor North near the YMCA with the idea that the land would be used for sports. Through a series of visioning meetings, citizens indicated a growing need for more turfed fields and spaces for pickleball, tennis and basketball, picnic shelters, trails and another accessible playground.

Gig Harbor Sports Complex Phase 1B

Gig Harbor Sports Complex Phase 1B Drawing courtesy of city of Gig Harbor

The city divided the project into two phases — Phase 1A and 1B — and secured grant funding to get started.

In 2021, the city and the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties signed a lease agreement that allowed the Y to take over Phase 1A. Under the terms, the Y will develop two lighted, artificial-turf fields that will accommodate soccer, football, lacrosse and other field sports. Construction of 100 parking stalls, restrooms and a concession stand are also part of the agreement. The Y will operate and maintain these facilities and make the fields available to the public when they are not reserved by sports clubs.

The Y is raising funds to cover Phase 1A design and construction costs, estimated in 2021 to be $6.8 million. Early on, the city allocated a $350,000 Recreation and Conservation Office Youth Athletic Facilities (RCO) grant toward that effort. The agreement stipulates that the Y has until the spring of 2023 to raise the funds and begin construction, with project completion by December 2024.

Phase 1B, the city’s project, will be funded through Hospital Benefit Zone (HBZ) funds and grants, and sports complex funding continues to be one of the city’s top legislative priorities, as it has been since 2016, with a $2 million capital request for the 60-day legislative session that began on Jan. 10.

Earlier this month, city and YMCA officials met with Sen. Emily Randall, D-Bremerton, and local sports organizations for an update on the project. The meeting had been billed as a public open house and site tour, but the public portion was canceled due to inclement weather.

“We wanted to explain our vision to Sen. Randall, give her a tour of the site and for her to hear directly from sports organizations who will use the facilities,” Interim City Administrator Tony Piasecki said.

In addition to Piasecki, council members Jeni Woock, Seth Storset and Roger Henderson attended the meeting, along with Mayor Tracie Markley, Public Works Director Jeff Langhelm and new Parks Administrator Matt Keough. Woock and Piasecki said they were surprised to learn how many teams use Gig Harbor’s existing sports fields.

Map showing future location of Gig Harbor Sports Complex.

Map showing future location of Gig Harbor Sports Complex. Map courtesy of city of Gig Harbor

“Our fields are used by about 17 different high schools from north and south of Gig Harbor,” Piasecki said.

Generally, kids who are involved in Peninsula School District-sponsored sports use PSD fields for games and practice.

“It’s the teams that aren’t connected to PSD that are really searching for fields,” Woock said.

Sen. Randall wasn’t encouraging about funding.

“The reality in Olympia is that this is a short session with lots of other priorities,” Woock relayed.

In a special Council meeting held Jan. 11 via Zoom, Rep. Michelle Caldier, R-Port Orchard, recommended that the city send its $2 million capital funding request as soon as possible.

“I’ve heard that there is much less than $2 million per jurisdiction in the current budget,” she said. “So you need to get your request in right away.”

Councilmember Rodenberg noted that the sports complex is a regional, district-wide asset.

“It’s not just Gig Harbor,” he said.

Councilmember Storset added that “thousands of kids are coming from all over the area to play in Gig Harbor sports clubs.”

Caldier responded that she’s “very supportive of the sports complex, but we have to be realistic” about what will be accomplished during the short legislative session.