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.