Port Townsend’s Memorial Field will have roof doffed, but repairs will work around games, events
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A temporary wooden tunnel opens out onto Memorial Field in Port Townsend. —Photo by Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A 32-foot wooden tunnel is in place now to allow access to Memorial Field until repairs are completed and plans are developed to use the field, which has been closed since May, for fall sports.

Two bids were due for the replacement of the roof Wednesday, with Jefferson County requesting a two-stage process that would allow use of the stands for the fall game season.

The bids, from Grant Steel Buildings in Port Townsend and John Lupo Construction in Aberdeen, will be examined by staff, which will make a recommendation for approval by the county commissioners.

The bid could be awarded as early as the July 28 meeting, according to Central Services Director Frank Gifford.

“We are hoping we can get the existing roof removed by Sept. 6 so the stands can be used for soccer and football season,” he said

“The building of a new roof could begin after the football season, which runs through November.”

Gifford said the bid award process usually takes several weeks and that it was uncertain whether the roof could be removed in time for the opening of the season.

It is also uncertain whether the stands could be occupied safely after removal of the roof.

If not, there is a backup plan, Gifford said.

Temporary bleachers could be placed on opposite sides of the existing bleachers or on the other side of the field, he said.

The grandstand at the 66-year-old field at 550 Washington St. in Port Townsend was closed in May after a contractor gathering bid information recommended condemnation of the structure.

The contractor said most of the structural members had degraded because of exposure to the salt air, rainwater and lack of maintenance.

After this report, the county determined that the roof and its supports both must be removed before the grandstand can be used again.

County officials already had expected to replace the roof this summer, a project expected to cost between $80,000 and $100,000, but the engineer’s report led to a higher estimate for the repair cost.

Gifford estimated Wednesday that the cost of replacing the roof will range between $200,000 and $250,000.

“There are a lot of stadiums that don’t have roofs because they are so expensive,” he said.

“We have to build what the community can afford.”

Gifford said some money from a sales tax hike approved in 2010 will be available for the roof repair.

The remainder would originate from donations, grants or moving money from another fund, Gifford said.

Proposition 1 raised the Jefferson County sales tax from 0.03 percent to 9 percent — the highest on the North Olympic Peninsula.

The funds were approved for public safety and youth and senior services.

The city of Port Townsend has provided about $212,000 annually from its share of the increase for maintenance and operation of Memorial Field and the Port Townsend Recreation Center, both county-owned facilities that are within the Port Townsend city limit.

That revenue will end in 2015. No substitute funding has been secured.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 16. 2014 6:17PM
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