Work begins on Battle Point fields project

Video by Sean Roach. Photos courtesy Sue Larkin and Bill Kobs

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Island youths armed with trowels were the first to break ground on the BattlePoint Park field project at a celebration Sunday.

The real earth movers – heavy equipment from Premier Fields company – took over on Thursday, preparing to regrade the two sand fields. Work will continue over the next four months to replace the old fields with artificial FieldTurf surfaces, which could be ready for play as early as June.

The $1.4 million project has come to fruition through a partnership between the Bainbridge Metropolitan Park and Recreation District and the Bainbridge Island Youth Soccer Club, supported by other island athletic clubs.

The synthetic fields will provide year-round play surfaces, in place of the sand-and-rubber fields, which became treacherous during winter months.

The project received major support from the state Recreation and Conservation Office, Bainbridge Rotary and the city. The Washington Youth Soccer Association loaned $250,000 to close the gap.

The project entered the permitting phase late last year and weathered several appeals. After hearing citizen concerns over the possibility of materials leaching from the fields, the city issued the project an environmental determination of non-significance that requires groundwater monitoring among other conditions.

BIYSC President John Sloat said he hopes the Battle Point fields will provide a model for future community recreation projects.

"For me personally it's really a community policy issue," Sloat said. "What we're going to do to promote healthy lifestyles in our community and get everyone active."

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