West Seattle Stadium private-operation update: Park Board hearing

October 24, 2008 1:33 am
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We’ve been telling you over the past month (stories here, here, and here) about the Parks Department‘s plan to seek proposals from would-be operators of West Seattle Stadium, in hopes that someone would come forward to make about $4 million in needed improvements at the stadium, in exchange for a longterm contract to operate it. Last night at Parks HQ downtown, the Board of Park Commissioners was briefed (see the briefing document here) on the Request for Proposals (RFP) that the department plans to put out, and members of the public were invited to comment too. Parks Board vice chair Jackie Ramels of Alki, who led the meeting, tells WSB about a dozen people spoke at the hearing, including West Seattle-residing Olympic runner and retired SPU track coach Doris Heritage, two UW track and field athletes/coaches, and representatives of several private high schools and track and field clubs, all of whom wanted to reinforce their interest in the stadium’s value as a track-and-field venue. Ramels says Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher told the meeting that this process is aimed at using the property more — of a potential 5000 hours of usage each year, it’s only being used about 900 hours — and taking care of significant, needed capital improvements, while protecting historic users. That includes guaranteed public access, according to what the board heard from Rebecca Salinas, Seattle Parks Director of Partnerships, and the point was stressed repeatedly as people voiced concerns during the hearing. The RFP draft is to be finished next week; then the Parks Board will make a recommendation to the superintendent at its November 13th meeting, with the RFP going public November 17th.

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