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Loyal Heights Playfield Public Involvement Timeline

April 12, 2007

The Office of City Auditor conducted a review of public involvement at Seattle Parks and Recreation. The first phase of our audit concluded in September, 2006 with our Phase 1 report. The second phase of our included a case study of the public process regarding the Loyal Heights Playfield renovation.

Parks' summary of public involvement for Loyal Heights is available by clicking here.

A one-page version of the timeline below is available by clicking here. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or if you would like hard copies of the documents.

February 4, 2000

Parks staff identified Loyal Heights for conversion to synthetic turf, citing poor field condition that led to decreasing use of the field. Parks anticipated doubling the field's programming capacity by installing synthetic turf at an estimated cost of $1,786,000.

June 19, 2000

City Council Resolution 30181 adopted the Seattle Park and Recreation Plan 2000, in which action plan item #SF9 directed Parks to "Consider the conversion of selected fields to artificial turf to increase scheduling capacity at locations such as the Lower Woodland baseball field, and Brighton and Loyal Heights Playfields."

August 4, 2000

Loyal Heights was included in Planning Level Cost Estimates in the first draft of the JAFDP update with scope: "convert field surface to synthetic", backstops and goals. Estimated budget: $2,204,000.

The Loyal Heights Playfield Improvements project was included in subsequent drafts of the JAFDP issued in April, May, and June, 2001. All cited conversion to synthetic surface.

July - November 2000

Citizens reviewed and voted on the Pro Parks Levy.

July 10, 2000 City Council Resolution 30185 stated that the Loyal Heights project would "upgrade and improve play surfaces and field amenities. $2.062M". Later, the Park Board, in an October 2006 letter to the Mayor, described this wording as an error.

November 2000, Seattle voters approved the $198,200,000 Pro Parks Levy.

August - October 2001

Parks conducted a Citywide public process for the JAFDP update, including three public workshops (at Bitter Lake, Miller, and Jefferson Community Centers).

October 2002

The City Council did not adopt the JAFDP update. Instead, they passed Council Resolution 30530 which called for "a thorough public involvement process for specific improvements that increase the playing capacity of athletic fields." At this point, the Loyal Heights project had already been approved and funded in the Pro Parks levy.

December 2002

Parks published the JAFDP 2002 Update listing Loyal Heights Playfield as a funded project with proposed JAFDP improvements including converting its field surface to synthetic turf, and replacing its field lights, backstops and goals.

The document indicated that Parks would conduct a public involvement process to determine the final scope and any mitigation measures.

December 2002 - March 2005

No formal communication occurred between Parks and Loyal Heights neighbors regarding the playfield improvement project. (Parks officials stated that for Pro Parks Levy projects, it has been typical to engage the public in the year when the funding becomes available and the planning and design process is ready to start.)

March 1, 2005

First Community Open House. The Parks flyer for the meeting did not mention synthetic turf. Parks meeting notes reflect that during the meeting Parks staff indicated that the City Council approved the field conversion to synthetic turf listed in the 2002 JAFDP, (In fact, the City Council had not approved the JAFDP update, see October 2002).

March - June, 2005

Parks held community meetings at the Loyal Heights Community Center on March 1, April 26, and June 14. A total of about 150 people attended at least one of the three meetings.

Project Advisory Team (PAT) meetings were held on June 1, June 13, and June 22 to discuss playfield improvements.

March, 2005 - present

Some Loyal Heights neighbors organized in opposition to synthetic turf and shared information on a web site they created,

July-August, 2005

Board of Park Commissioners conducted public process:

October 2, 2005

Parks completed Environmental Checklist and issued a Determination of Non-Significance, citing no probable significant adverse impact.

October - December, 2005

City Council Budget Process:

  • Councilmember Della asked the City Council to consider providing direction to Parks concerning the Loyal Heights playfield, or to pursue alternative locations.
  • October 19, 2005 Issue introduced to City Council Budget Committee.
  • November 3, 2005 Discussion at Budget Committee. Council staff noted that the City Council did not adopt the JAFDP and stated that references to turf in the Pro Parks Levy were unclear. The Parks Superintendent indicated that Soundview was not an alternative because it was not a named as a Pro Parks Levy project.
  • November 10, 2005 The Park Board learned that Councilmember Della rescinded his proposal to cut Levy funding for Loyal Heights.

December 2005 - May 2006

Hearing Examiner Process:

  • Four community members challenged Parks' Determination of Non-Significance (DNS).
  • Three traffic studies were considered.
  • City Hearing Examiner affirmed the DNS with certain limits on construction activities and high attendance events.