Installation of new cork-filled surface for Cal Anderson’s Bobby Morris field to begin



It’s your last weekend to enjoy the turf at Cal Anderson’s Bobby Morris field until later this summer — the fences will go up next Wednesday for the construction project to replace the playfield’s crumb rubber surface with a new experimental cork alternative. Here’s the announcement from Seattle Parks:

Seattle Parks and Recreation awarded the construction contract to replace the aging synthetic turf at Bobby Morris Playfield to FieldTurf USA. FieldTurf USA began preliminary work on June 10, and they will install construction fencing on June 22.  FieldTurf USA will be occupying parking spots on the west side of 11th Ave. adjacent to Cal Anderson Park to stage equipment. The project will be completed in early August 2016. The project includes new infill and testing, any structural repairs to curbing or base required, and new soccer goals and nets.

This pilot project will test the durability, safety, playability, maintainability and environmental health of a new synthetic turf infill material. Seattle Parks and Recreation has been looking for an alternate infill material for over three years. The industry is working to offer alternatives such as coconut fiber, minerals (light stone – zeolite), cork and Thermal Plastic Elastomer (TPE – a food grade inert plastic). Cork met Seattle Parks and Recreation’s playability, durability and safety criteria and has a reasonable cost. This pilot project will test the capabilities we believe cork has.

CHS reported on the $1 million, six to seven-week project in May. Crumb rubber fields have come under increasing scrutiny over health concerns that the recycled tires used as infill could be contaminating the fields. “We hope that it’s just as playable and durable and meets safety requirements,” project manager Jay Rood told CHS last month about the alternative being tried for the first time in Seattle. If the new cork and sand fill works out, Rood said the pilot program will be extended to artificial turf fields across the city.

Pride events that utilize the park will adjust accordingly this year. On the 24th, Trans* Pride will utilize the park’s grassy bowl before heading out to march while Capitol Hill Pride with Family Pride and Queer Youth Pride on the 25th will stretch out of Cal Anderson onto the E Denny “festival” street by Capitol Hill Station.

You can learn more at

UPDATE 8/3/2016: Seattle Parks says it is currently targeting an August 12th completion of the corking at Bobby Morris. Stay tuned!

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