Community Government Health & Wellness

PenMet community recreation center becoming reality in 2024

Posted on December 5th, 2023 By:

PenMet Parks will celebrate the Year of the Community Recreation Center in 2024.

Though the $31.6 million facility has been in planning for a few years, in 2024 the structure will rise on the former Performance Golf Center driving range between Highway 16 and 14th Avenue. In fact, the parks district announced Nov. 30 that people can view the progress here on a weekly time-lapse video.

Most of capital budget carried over

On Nov. 14, PenMet commissioners adopted a $29 million capital budget that carries over $26.6 million in unspent funds from 2023 projects, primarily for the CRC, similar to what happened the previous year. In 2024, the money will finally be disbursed.

Heavy equipment moves dirt at the CRC construction site Wednesday.

Heavy equipment moves dirt at the CRC construction site Wednesday. Photo by Ed Friedrich

On July 18, the parks district board awarded a $20.7 million construction contract to Jody Miller Construction. The Spanaway firm agreed to begin work within 10 days and complete the project in 13 months, according to documents.

Construction began in July

Other budgeted costs include $1.9 million in sales tax, $4.3 million for architectural, engineering and consultant fees, and a $1.1 million contingency fund. Funding sources comprise $11.6 million from the district’s capital projects fund, $16.6 million in bonds, and $4 million in public and philanthropic support.

PenMet held a groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 24 at which it thanked local legislators for a $1 million allocation to the project. In the background, heavy equipment was already pushing dirt.

Community recreation center floor plan.

Community recreation center floor plan.

The community recreation center is being built on the 17-acre former Performance Golf Center site that PenMet bought in 2019 for $4.3 million. The 58,300-square-foot structure will house a 175-by-75-foot turfed soccer/football/lacrosse field; three full-sized multipurpose sports courts for basketball, pickleball and volleyball; a two-lane elevated walking/jogging track; and rooms for community gathering.

The project includes extending Cushman Trail to the facility, an outdoor event lawn large enough for kids soccer, music and vendors, and a renovated miniature golf course.

PenMet moving on Dec. 6

PenMet also announced it will move its administrative offices to the renovated former pro shop building (CRC Phase 1) on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

A sketch of Phase 2 of the community recreation center.

A sketch of Phase 2 of the community recreation center.

That job was contracted to reach “substantial completion” no later than May 12. In August, PenMet fired the contractor, Grenlar Construction of Kenmore, and withheld the balance of contract funds until the cost of completing and correcting the work had been determined.

Grenlar had been paid $882,000 of the $1.46 million contract. About $573,000 was held back, according to a resolution the board passed Sept. 5 to hire other companies to complete the work. The contract also required Grenlar to pay PenMet $600 a day in damages from May 12 until completion, which would cover the park district’s office lease.

Grenlar claimed the work was 99.7% complete, and that two remaining items were being held up by PenMet.

Executive Director Ally Bujacich, in foreground, board members and legislators perform the ritual turning of the dirt.

Executive Director Ally Bujacich, in foreground, board members and legislators turn the dirt during groundbreaking ceremony in August. Photo by Ed Friedrich

At its Sept. 5 meeting, the park district board approved hiring J.A. Morris Construction of Olympia to complete the work for $221,000, minus the disposal of concrete and debris, and correction and repair of the septic system. PenMet paid Jody Miller Construction $53,000 to take away the debris.

Besides the $26.6 million carried forward from 2023 in the 2024 capital budget, $2.4 million was designated to 10 new projects. Listed by priority, they are:

Capital priority list

1. Replace HVAC system at CRC Phase 1: $414,000
2. Parking lot pavement upgrades: $182,000
3. Heavy equipment acquisition fund: $50,000
4. Implement signage master plan: $282,000
5. Madrona Links strategic priority, scope TBD: $500,000
6. Peninsula Gardens master plan: $150,000
7. DeMolay Sandspit Island Boulevard acquisition match: $303,000
8. Fox Island fishing pier improve beach access for hand launches: $145,000
9. Fox Island fishing pier new picnic shelter: $94,000
10. District capital campaign initiative: $279,564

Among other projects being carried over from 2023 are the $1.5 million renovation of Rosedale Hall and $1.7 million for a master plan and to address highest priorities at DeMolay Sandspit on Fox Island.

Renovation work on Rosedale Hall continued Wednesday.

Renovation work on Rosedale Hall continued Wednesday. Photo by Ed Friedrich

The 2024 capital budget declined from $34.5 million in 2023 to $29 million in 2024 while the operating budget rose from $8.1 million to $9.5 million.

Because voters rejected a proposed levy lid lift on Nov. 7, the parks district is restricted by state law to collecting just 1% more in property taxes in 2024 than it did in 2023. Property taxes comprise more than 80% of PenMet funding.

1% property tax increase

This year it will collect $8,378,146 in property taxes. In 2024, it estimates it will bring in $8,524,917 — a $79,348 increase (.95%). It also expects to receive $51,930 in taxes from new construction, which isn’t subject to the 1% limit, for a total increase of $131,280 over 2023.

PenMet had sought to restore its levy rate from 58 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to 75 cents. Had the lid lift succeeded, it would have generated $2.5 million more in property taxes in 2024 and raised the limit from 1% to 6% in each of the succeeding five years, as has been the case the past five years.

So instead of a $2.5 million bump in 2024, it will get only about $130,000.

PenMet will move into its new offices at CRC Phase 1 on Dec. 6.

PenMet will move into its new offices at CRC Phase 1 on Dec. 6. Photo by Ed Friedrich

Had the levy lid lift passed, PenMet said it planned to: develop a $150,000 master plan for Wollochet Estuary Bay Park; make $150,000 of improvements at the Cedrona Bay boat launch on Fox Island, $550,000 in accessibility improvements at Narrows Park, $500,000 in trails at Rotary Bark Park/McCormick Forest; and $1 million for Phase 1 development at Peninsula Gardens.

It also intended to add a procurement specialist and two grounds crew workers.