Torguson Park set to add sports fields

Torguson Park is set to get a face lift.

The North Bend community field of about 21 acres currently contains a skate park, a BMX bike track, baseball fields and more.

Site plans for new development are set to be reviewed before the North Bend Public Works Committee on March 16 before heading to the City Council for approval.

The plans came about after the city of North Bend received grant money to develop a new soccer field.

Along with that, the city decided to revamp its park space with a new master plan. The city still has to find some of the funding for the park improvements.

In doing the master plan for Torguson Park, city officials realized the site was too close to capacity to effectively accommodate a new soccer field, explained Sara Sayles, special projects coordinator for the city of North Bend.

The North Bend Parks Commission has come up with a multitude of ideas for additions to the park, including additional baseball fields, (and enlarging of existing ones), a play area, a picnic shelter, more parking and the standard full-sized soccer field. Work could begin on the park by next year if funding is secured; the soccer field could be developed this year if the master site plans are approved.

"We start with a master plan," said Sayles. "Once we have an adopted master plan, then we will start putting it all together."

The soccer field is paid for through a King County Youth Sports Field grant in a sum of about $48,000. Though Sayles said that she wasn't sure about the exact total cost for the project, she estimated the cost of putting in the field to be about $80,000.

"The are a lot of children in the community and there is a shortage of soccer fields," said Sayles. "Torguson Park is the only park owned by the city of North Bend that has athletic fields."

Partnering with the city to cover the rest of the cost and labor are local Little League organizations and the Sno-Valley Soccer Association.

The grant program provides 50-percent matching funds, Sayles explained.

The city has budgeted about $20,000 from its real estate excise tax money; Little League has offered $10,000 and $10,000 in labor; and the soccer association has pledged $10,000 in labor.

Four alternative site plan designs are currently under consideration.

In looking at the options, city officials knew they would have to increase parking and address the fact that the park is pretty close to capacity already, Sayles said.

The master plan favored by the Parks Commission is "Alternative D" and includes the addition of two new Little League fields and the enlargement of the current fields, while Opstad Elementary School property. The other design alternatives place the soccer field on the park property.

If Alternative D is approved, the city would have to come up with the site plan for the new soccer field and set that before the public and City Council for review, development and approval.

The Opstad location was proposed by Snoqualmie Valley School District Plant Operations Supervisor Carl Larson, Sayles noted. Board members of the Si View Metropolitan Parks District were also involved in the suggestion to site the new soccer field at Opstad.

"Certainly if we go ahead with [Alternative D], there'll be a lot more discussion," she said. "We welcome public comments."

The designs were developed by Jay Rood, a landscape architect from Seattle.

"We are trying to determine ... the vision; what are the ideas that people wanted to see," Rood said.

He noted that he thinks Alternative D best addresses the issues of concern with the park, including overuse of the fields if there are too many built too closely together; the current water moratorium (Opstad receives water from a supply other than the city, Rood said); access; room for facilities; and additional parking space, among others.

"Adding all of that together, it was just deemed that the park had reached capacity," he said.

Rood said he began to conceptualize the project in January of this year.

"The good thing is that the park has a history of being a working, heavily used park," Rood said. "This has been a product of active community sponsorship and physical development and support."

The North Bend Public Works Committee will meet at 4 p.m. on March 16 at the North Bend Public Works Office, 1155 E. North Bend Way. The meeting is open to the public, but there will not be allotted time for comments.

City Council meetings will allow public comments. They occur on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Mount Si Senior Center, 411 Main Ave. S. The next meeting will be held March 21.

For more information, call (425)-888-1211.

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