New Playfields at the Tom Taylor Family YMCA
Gig Harbor has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, creating a need for additional community recreational opportunities, specifically sports fields. The City of Gig Harbor plans to work with partners to develop all or a portion of 30+ acres in Gig Harbor North into a large regional park/sports complex adjacent to the Tom Taylor Family YMCA.
Q: Why is the City working with the YMCA to develop fields?
A: The City has been in discussions with the YMCA dating back to 2014-15 to develop community fields. The City and YMCA began exploring community fields when the City began master planning the City’s land to the south of the YMCA (Harbor Hill Park). These discussions for community fields have continued/extended to the City’s land to the north of the YMCA. The City believes that the most expedient way to complete Phase 1 of the Sports Complex is through a partnership with the YMCA. The City and the Y have a partnership dating back to 2005 with the construction of the Tom Taylor Family YMCA. The Y had previously explored purchasing property to develop its own fields. By partnering to develop Phase 1 of the Sports Complex, it is an efficient use of the community’s resources.
Q: Does the YMCA know how to operate fields?
A: The YMCA has extensive experience in operating fields. The YMCA operates, schedules, and maintains fields at the Morgan (central Tacoma), Mel Korum (Puyallup), and Lakewood YMCAs.
Q: Why do we need more playfields? Aren’t there enough fields at the schools, PenMet Parks, and others?
A: Both the City and the YMCA have completed independent market studies that have concluded that there is a need for additional synthetic, lighted turf fields. During summer 2018, the City completed a Master Planning process for the Regional Sports Complex that involved the community members and showed strong support for additional synthetic turf fields. There is limited availability of turf fields in the area. Peninsula School District’s sports leagues have top priority for its fields and PenMet has its own sports leagues and rents to other sports groups for use of its fields. Other local sports groups and organizations (e.g. Harbor Soccer, Harbor Lacrosse, Peninsula Youth Football and Cheer, etc.) must apply to reserve time on these fields. The availability of two new synthetic turf fields will help to alleviate the community-wide demand.
Q: What does the Y get out of this? What is the benefit to city residents?
A: By partnering with the City to develop the fields, the Y and the City are helping to meet a critical need in the community for additional synthetic turf fields. The Y will be provided outdoor field space to offer additional outdoor youth sports (e.g. soccer, flag football, t-ball, etc.), Summer Day Camp activities, and adult sports and fitness. The City and its residents are provided with additional outdoor fields.
Q: Do the Y’s sports leagues compete with other sports groups in the community?
A: The YMCA currently offers affordable recreational sports leagues for children ages 3-12. Our sports leagues focus on teaching the fundamentals of the sport, teaching proper technique and teamwork, and promoting good sportsmanship. YMCA members and community members are welcome to participate. There are other sports groups and leagues in the community that offer competitive play.
Q: Why is the Y and the City developing the project in phases and not all of it at one time? Why is the Y and the City only developing a small portion of the Sports Complex?
A: The current cost estimate to develop all three phases of the Sports Complex exceeds $15 million. Neither the City nor the Y has the funding to complete all three phases of the Sports Complex. To complete Phase 1 of the Sports Complex, the Y will raise $4 million from the community.
Q: How much will it cost to construct all of the Gig Harbor Sports Complex?
A: The current cost estimate to develop all three phases of the Gig Harbor Sports Complex exceeds $15 million. We are developing the Sports Complex in phases, as funding becomes available.
Q: Who is going to operate and maintain the Sports Complex fields?
A: When Phase 1 of the Sports Complex is completed, the YMCA will operate and maintain the fields. The YMCA will be responsible for scheduling, maintaining, and repairing the fields.
Q: If I’m a Gig Harbor resident, will my taxes increase to build the Sports Complex?
A: No, your City taxes will not increase to construct the Sports Complex. The YMCA and its partners will fundraise from the community to construct Phase 1 of the Sports Complex.
Q: If I’m a Y member, will my membership dues increase to build the Sports Complex?
A: No, your membership dues will not increase to construct or maintain/operate the Sports Complex. The YMCA and its partners will fundraise from the community to construct the first phase of the Sports Complex.
Q: Do I need to be a YMCA member to use the fields?
A: No, a YMCA membership is not required to use the fields.
Q: Will the Sports Complex fields be available to the public?
A: Yes, the Y will make the fields open and available to the public.
Q: Will I be able to reserve the fields for the Sports Complex?
A: Yes, the YMCA will have a reservation system in-place and staff to help manage and schedule the fields.
Q: I am concerned about traffic and congestion that will be generated as a result of the fields.
A: A traffic study for Phase 1 will be completed in summer 2019 and will estimate the number of additional vehicle trips generated by the Sports Complex and if required, identify strategies to help alleviate traffic. There are multiple ways to access the Sports Complex: Borgen Blvd. from the east (Peacock Hill) and west (SR-16) as well as the new Harbor Hill Dr. extension.
Q: I am concerned with the potential for glare or bright field lights.
A: The proposed field lighting will be LED (light emitting diode) field lights, designed to provide directional lighting and will reduce unnecessary glare, brightness, and neighborhood spillover. Traditional field or stadium lighting typically use HID (high intensity discharge) bulbs and are known for emitting unnecessary glare and brightness.
Q: What type of synthetic turf will be used?
A: At this time, we have not specified the type or manufacturer of synthetic turf that will be used for the fields. Our requirements will be that the synthetic turf will be high-quality and long-lasting.
Q: I’ve read that artificial synthetic turf causes cancer. Will this field cause cancer?
A: No, neither the synthetic turf nor playing on the fields will cause cancer. In 2015, a NBC Nightly News reported a story that linked ‘crumb rubber’ to potential carcinogens. The news story was not substantiated. In 2017, the Washington State Department of Health published the results of an investigation and found no link between artificial turf, crumb rubber, and cancer. With that said, there are alternatives to crumb rubber that we will explore including Nike Grind (recycled Nike shoe soles), other synthetic rubbers or plastics, or organic infill.
Q: How will the Y and City preserve trees at the Sports Complex?
A: The Y and its design and engineering firm are working with the City to develop a plan that preserves 25 percent of the significant trees on the property.
Gig Harbor Little League
Harbor Soccer Club
Peninsula Youth Football