Strawberry Hill Park closer to turf fields

Strawberry Hill Park on Bainbridge Island is moving closer to having artificial turf on athletic fields.

Bainbridge Island Metro Parks & Recreation District commissioners are looking at spending $150,000 to design and permit the effort. Staff will meet with user groups for input.

Artificial turf construction would cost $1.7 million, with upgrades costing up to $428,500 for lights and $200,000 for cork infill.

Details in the estimate include $103,000 for new backstops, $72,800 for fencing and $54,320 for site furnishings, such as benches. The biggest unknown is stormwater engineering, which will not be known until the design and permitting phase is complete.

Park Services Division director Dan Hamlin said that there are a lot of development ideas for Strawberry Hill Park, and assumptions for a new lighted artificial turf field are: 1) that it would be a football imprint with triple layouts for football, softball and soccer, 2) the light poles would stay in their current locations, and 3) the infill would be the same as in the artificial turf fields at Battle Point Park.

Meanwhile, four people spoke in support of swim coach Kyle Harris, who is facing some complaints that are not public because it’s a public agency personnel matter.

Bernadette Witty asked that the investigation be prompt, thorough and impartial. She has nothing but high praise for Harris. Joe Solseng said Harris is a good coach and treats his swimmers very well. Tyler Stuart asked that the investigation be expedited so that his teammates can resume training. He does not know the exact nature of the complaints, but he knows that the heart rate zone colors have no tie to race or racism. Yumiko Inoue said as a person of color, she and her family have experienced discrimination. But neither she nor her son have seen any gender or racial discrimination or harassment from Harris.

Also, parks has created a campaign called: We Love Healthy Forests. The goal is to educate the community on why forests need management and why some trees or vegetation may need to be removed to have a safe and sustainable forest. It was launched at the 4th of July parade.

Finally, Commissioner Ken DeWitt said Charles Schmid worked tirelessly, and the Waterfront Trail would never have happened without his determination and leadership, in continuing to support a name change.

In other parks news:

•The walkabout program at Battle Point has been updated with work from a local author and illustrator highlighting marine life.

•The sail float replacement project is moving along.

•There is a new Natural Resources section on the park website.

• An Eagle Scout project for a chess table near the KidsUp! Playground at Battle Point was recently completed.

• Commissioner Dawn Janow said she saw the newly redone pump track at Battle Point, and it looks great. Janow continues to be interested in how parks can play a part in affordable housing on BI.

•BI Recreation Center summer camps are sold out, as well as swim lessons, and a cornhole league has started..