Attorney raises stadium issues

Excitement has quickly built surrounding the possible refurbishing of the venerable Pete’s Pool football field, but there are also a few stumbling blocks to watch for.

That was the message deliver by City Attorney Mike Reynolds during the May 10 gathering of the Enumclaw City Council.

The city-owned football field is home to the Enumclaw High Hornets and is considered substandard by current standards. Its natural-grass surface sports an exaggerated crown in the center that runs the length of the field and locker rooms are not inviting. If EHS was to earn the right to host a playoff game, it would have to be moved elsewhere, as state officials have mandated the field is not of playoff quality.

That’s where Your Enumclaw Area Stadium has come into play. The YEAS Committee is a motivated band of stadium backers who have rallied local contractors to offer in-kind donations of services. Mutual of Enumclaw offered $50,000 toward the cause, former residents Dick and Betty Kovacevich added 10,000 to the pot and the committee landed a $200,000 grant through the National Football League.

Organizers are excited and moving forward.

But it’s Reynolds’ job to watch for stumbling blocks and that’s what he did at the last council meeting.

He wasn’t intending to rain on anyone’s parade, the city’s legal adviser said, but it was an administrative duty to keep the council aware of potential pitfalls. If current plans fell to pieces, he said, the city could be at “a cost and substantial risk.”

He reminded the council of their stated goal that upgrades to Pete’s Pool always remain a public function, with money never to come from the city’s general fund.

When much of the work is donated, Reynolds said, there’s a possibility of the field being left in unplayable shape. When the city goes through normal channels and contractors are hired, a performance bond is mandatory; if plans go to pieces, the city has cash in hand to finish the job.

Another issue, Reynolds said, is the time spent by city employees on the project – even though a huge amount of the work is being handled by unpaid volunteers.

“Time is money,” he reminded.

Finally, Reynolds pointed out no one has talked about the lifespan of an artificial playing surface and what will happen in 10 or 15 years when the turf needs replacing. The turf cost is about $500,000 in today’s dollars, Reynolds said, suggesting the city should contact the school district and determine how future costs will be handled.

Prior to Reynolds’ report, YEAS Committee members Rick Bathum and Shelly Thiel had assured the council everything is moving forward and news is positive.

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