After a team effort from the community to come up with the funding for a new field, Mercer Island High School baseball players were able to have a home game for the first time in two years.
The city of Mercer Island formally re-opened the north field at Island Crest Park on March 14, with a brief ceremony hosted by Mayor Debbie Bertlin right before the first varsity baseball game to use the new facility.
Drainage issues on the old field made it essentially unplayable. Field users from all sports and activities rallied last spring to convince the City Council to turf the north field of Island Crest Park, making it available for year-round play.
The 2.4 acre multi-sport field is now 100 percent synthetic turf and has new, highly-efficient LED lighting and a deluxe scoreboard donated by the Mercer Island Baseball Booster Club. Booster president Steve Poore threw out the first pitch at the game.
The field also contains natural cork infill, a new drainage system and a high-performance, shock absorbing foam pad beneath the surface of the turf, making it more durable for varsity sports.
The cost of the entire project was $2.3 million, with grants and community donations totaling over $700,000.
This project began as a relamping effort that expanded to become a complete field rehabilitation following the receipt of a $500,000 grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, with assistance from state Rep. Tana Senn, who also lives on the Island.
Thanks to the support of King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci, the project also received $70,000 from King County’s Youth and Amateur Sports Grant fund. The Mercer Island Community Foundation and Mercer Island Rotary Club also helped fund this project as a community priority.
“This simply would not have been possible without incredible support from the community, and I’m excited to see this day arrive. What a team effort,” said Parks Superintendent Paul West.
The city needed to raise another $150,000 in community matching funds, and was honored by the wide range of supporters, who ultimately gathered $160,000 in donations, according to a press release.
Mercer Island School District, Mercer Island Football Club, Nowland Premier Soccer Association and the baseball boosters all contributed early.
A group of parents, including the following, led the final funding push: Wendy Weiker, Melissa Neher, Alison Stovall, Jodi McCarthy, Tom Gallagher, Hilary Benson, Sarah LeClerq, Becky Shaddle, Sophy Yang, Laurie Givan and Brian Thomas.
The Boys and Girls Club football program, the Football Booster Club and the Mercer Island Cross Country Track Club all donated, as did many businesses, including Key Bank, Mercer Island Pediatrics, Microsoft, MI Athletic Club, Dollar Development, Brotherton Cadillac, Centurylink and Comcast.
The city said it greatly appreciates all supporters, and will place a donor recognition plaque on the field house later this spring.