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Lights out for Bobby Morris Playfield this summer: More Cal Anderson work planned

The Bobby Morris Playfield at the south end of Cal Anderson Park will be closed intermittently in the heart of summer from June 20 to August 26 in order to install new lights, according to the Department of Parks and Recreation. Because the closures are not predictable, Parks is not scheduling any activities on the field for the entire construction period. But don’t worry, construction will not begin until after the annual Bat N Rouge Drag Queens vs Dykes softball fundraiser, Parks tells CHS.

Seattle Gay News took issue with the idea of closing the field during its busiest months. Because the work requires digging a trench, it must be done during the dry season, Dewey Potter from Parks told SGN.

The field will only be closed when certain work is being done and will remain open for pickup use whenever the contractor deems it safe, a Parks rep said. The tennis courts will remain open, but the lights may not be available at times due to the construction. The final staging plan showing areas of disruption is not yet available, but will be posted on the project web page soon.

From Kelly Davidson at Parks:

Closure times will be while poles are delivered to the site, drilling new holes, while the crane is on site, and when we have open trenching for conduit. This will not be 100% of the time during construction, however we will not be able to predict the days these closures will be necessary, so we need to close the field to all scheduled events. I will be working with the contractor to make sure that we can open the field for pick up use whenever it is safe to do so.

Parks has been in contact with the Bat N Rouge organizers and CHS partner Three Dollar Bill Cinema to make sure work does not disrupt those events, said Davidson. Speaking of Bat N Rouge, Capitol Hill Alano Club is looking for volunteers to help out, and you can sign up online. CHAC recovering from a fire less than a month ago, so get ready to give a little extra help at Bat N Rouge XIII (see our coverage from last year’s game).

The lights at Bobby Morris, consisting of 88 unshielded 1500 watt floodlights, were installed in 1964, according to a Parks memo on the project. The lights require significant maintenance to keep running. The wood poles are 47 years old and “have limited structural capacity.” The amount of light they create are also “below recommended standards for safe play” and cause light pollution.

The new lights are intended to put more light on the field and less into the surrounding area. They will also use less energy. Total cost of the project is estimated at $600,000.

On the bright side, the area of Cal Anderson Park north of the playfield should be open by the time the playfield goes under construction. We reported in February that the reservoir lid turf repairs could be finished as early as the end of May if the weather is not too rainy. Otherwise, the fences may need to stay up until early July.

 Parks initially announced the project in March but details of the project schedule weren’t made available until a community meeting and are still being communicated to the community. Want more information on the Bobby Morris light upgrade project? It’s on the agenda of this Thursday’s Capitol Hill Community Council meeting. Meeting starts at 7 PM at the Cal Anderson Shelterhouse.

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Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor
9 years ago

The new lights at Miller Playfield did just that: the spillover into the neighborhood just about disappeared, and the light on the field is bright and even. This will be a great improvement for both players and neighbors.

Friend
Friend
9 years ago

As people have written here before, this is a completely unnecessary project that NOBODY in the community asked for. The old lights were fine and the amount of money they’re spending on these is crazy, especially for a parks department that less than a year ago was so short on money that it was contemplating shutting down the Volunteer Park Conservatory.

Worse is that they’re now going to have to shut down the field for months during the summer. Isn’t it bad enough that they’ve shut down half the park already for a grass project, surrounding it with a big ugly fence and ‘private property’ signs (in a public park!) when the grass was doing its job for the people just fine?

nofriend
nofriend
9 years ago

I am part of the community and I think the new lights are great.

If you want to cite the conservatory then we need to start talking about what benefits the greater good and that means we start looking at how many people use the field vs. the conservatory. You opened that can of worms.

I’ll skip commenting on your bitching about fixing the grass. That one just makes you sound like you complain about everything. When they fix the grass in a public park, I think it is ok to put up a fence and signs to keep people off it. If you are an expert on lawn care then I will shut up.

genevieve
genevieve
9 years ago

do you really think the grass on the main part of the park was “just fine” before? It was a swampy mess any time there was rain – and often long after the rain stopped. There is valid criticism in that the grass (or the soil beneath it) was not properly installed the first time around, but this is a necessary fix that will greatly improve the park – unless of course it doesn’t work, which is a potential snark for another day.

it’s a bummer that the playfield will be closed during the height of summer, but the timing is dictated by the weather, so what are ya gonna do? Upgrading before there’s a big problem with the lights is called being proactive, and I don’t see any downside to converting to a more energy-efficient system that both adds light and reduces spill.

detsea
detsea
9 years ago

a swampy mess of grass that you can use is better than a fenced in piece of grass that nobody can use…

and so what if not as many people use the conservatory? it should stay open. it’s great! have you ever been there?

that’s like saying that not as many people use the capitol hill library as the downtown library. so lets just shut that down too while were at it to save costs.

if it ain’t broke. don’t fix it.

hill23
hill23
9 years ago

I also have to say that I never found the field to be that muddy and, if it ever was, there were tons of benches nearby with nice views that you could sit in. Now those benches look at fences.

pete
pete
9 years ago

I had thought the lights were installed when the new turf was put in (around 2003)? If the lights/poles had been there since 1964, they must have been permanently off. I played soccer there as a child and never saw any lights making the dirt field brighter.

Agree with other posters that Parks and Rec don’t need be fixing anything, and BTW the lights are off most of the time unless some adult league has paid 140 bucks for 60 minutes of lights. It’s not like the parks department turns on the lights for everyone to enjoy, the leagues all pay dearly.

I bet the new apartment dwellers that are stupidly paying 1400 a month to live next to a pick-up basketball court are pissed that they have to listen to “AND-1!” all evening long while having the bright lights beam in through the windows… city is pandering to these folks.

SeattleXB
SeattleXB
9 years ago

Ummm… I’m one of those “stupid” people who lives in the apartments right beside the tennis courts/field. Please see the previous blog posting where the parks department says the have not received a single complaint from anyone in our building, including the management.

BTW, to correct you, the lights are on most nights, I’d know. The field is very heavily used, and you’re right, the groups renting the field are paying for the light.

Nofriend
Nofriend
9 years ago

So what? The person complaining brought up the conservatory. If you want to compare a field to the conservatory you have to look at who it benefits. I have been to the conservatory and would rather use the field.

I would be happy to discuss shutting down libraries too.

pragmatic
pragmatic
9 years ago

“the old lights are fine”??
Maybe, except for these minor details: “The lights require significant maintenance to keep running. The wood poles are 47 years old and “have limited structural capacity.”

calhoun
calhoun
9 years ago

Detsea, your post makes no sense at all. The fenced-in area in Cal Anderson Park is temporary and will be available again soon. It’s called “basic maintenance” of a park…or, in this case, correction of a problem that was the result of a somewhat faulty installation. How can you oppose this?

It makes me laugh to visualize you sitting in a “swampy mess of grass” and preferring that to a dry, well-kept-up area.

Dotty
Dotty
9 years ago

Do the Sidewalk Astronomers know about this? It would be really really nifty to coordinate and have a “falling star” or other astronomical celebration in the summer. Bobby Morris (and Cal Anderson generally) are in a sort of dip in the landscape and when the lights are not on, it is actually possible to see the sky without so much light scatter that one can’t. August is usually a great month for sky gazing!