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Spokane Parks approves new field fee to help pay for synthetic field replacement

Teams and other groups who use Spokane Park fields will face some new fees as part of the plan to pay for new synthetic turf at Dwight Merkel Sports Complex.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Park Board approved a plan on Thursday to replace the synthetic turf at the Dwight Merkel Sports Complex that includes new booking fees at sports fields across the city.

The project to replace the synthetic turf at Dwight Merkel will cost the city $1,194,789. The Park Board plans to split the project cost among three sources:

  • Sports Fields Improvement Fee
  • Recreation Operational Budget
  • Annual Capital

Sports Fields Improvement Fee

The Sports Fields Improvement Fee is a new funding source that will raise the booking fees at parks across Spokane. Here is how much the fee will cost groups to use the city fields:

Sports Complexes (Merkel, Franklin, & Southeast)

  • $5 per booking fee

Tier 2 Park Fields (Liberty, Thornton Murphy, Chief Garry, BA Clark, & Underhill)

  • $1 per hour increase
  • Youth rate increases from $2 to $3 per hour
  • Adult rate increases from $3 to $4 per hour

Tier 3 Park Fields (all other remaining parks)

  • $1 per hour increase
  • Youth and adult rates increase from 50 cents to $1.50 per hour

Winter Synthetic Turf Universal Rate

  • $10 per hour increase for youth
  • Rate remains $57 per hour for adults
  • Youth rate increases from $47 to $57 per hour for youth

The Parks Board did not give an official start date for the fee changes, but its meeting agenda said the fees would primarily begin in 2023, except for the Winter Synthetic Turf Rate, which begins in November 2022.

The Park Board estimates the new fees will raise about $45,000 per year.

Dwight Merkel replacement project

The Parks Board said the synthetic turf fields at Dwight Merkel have exceeded their useful lifespan and are expected to become unsafe if not replaced this year.

The approved project will resurface the fields with new synthetic turf, hash marks, numbers, and arrows for football, soccer, and lacrosse. The new turf will be thicker which should result in a longer life span. Crews will also replace failing perimeter nailer board.

The Parks Board estimates that the fields will need to close for about four months for the replacement work. It is expected to begin in the summer or fall.

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