North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Quake Field improvements nearing completion

 

Christopher Andersson

Local Austin Knott practices some throws at one of the new Quake Field baseball fields on March 4.

Local kids will soon begin playing on the new Quake Field near the Arlington Boys & Girls Club, one of the first projects of the Stilly Valley Youth Project to be finished.

The youth project put nearly $4 million in funds into Arlington and Darrington after the Oso landslide as an attempt to improve recreation options for kids.

That includes more than $700,000 for quality baseball fields for Arlington which will be finished soon and see their first games on the weekend of March 18.

The new turf and improved drainage for the fields are some of the biggest improvements.

"All the water is just gone from the fields now," said Ken Klein, an executive director with Snohomish County, an Arlington resident and one of the drivers for the Stilly Valley Youth Project. "Before, the water would sit and pool around the batter's box and around the bases," he said.

"In our [western Washington] climate it's great to have that ability in our facilities," he said.

Draining that water improves safety for the players.

"The biggest improvements have to do with safety. There won't be any more bad hops and no more sliding in the mud," said Greg Dunc, president of the Stilly Valley Little League and another advocate for the Stilly Valley Youth Project. "People are not walking around in gravel and mud. The new fences are great for safety, too."

With modern and improved fields there is also less cost for the league and less upkeep, said Dunc.

"There's definitely less field prep, where our volunteers would have to arrive at the field an hour beforehand," he said.

The Stilly Valley Little League plans to start a new division this year for kids with disabilities or special needs, and Dunc said a smoother and safer field will help with that program as well.

The fields were chosen for the Stilly Valley Youth Project because the community had outgrown previously built baseball fields.

"The fields have been around for a long time, and the community has grown so much that they would have to be replaced anyway," said Klein.

The fields were also targeted because they would help kids from Smokey Point to Darrington to parts of Stanwood, said Klein.

"The draw for the kids would be up and down the valley," he said.

With high-quality fields there's also a higher chance that tournaments and Little League All-Star games can be held in Arlington, said Dunc.

Bringing in teams from around the state has economic benefits for Arlington, said Klein.

The Stilly Valley Youth Project began after the Oso mudslide.

"Unfortunately, it was triggered by the Oso slide, but it was an opportunity to shine a light on some of the recreation needs here," said Dunc.

Christopher Andersson

One of the new Quake Field baseball fields.

"To help in the recovery, not just for the people who need it now but for the people of the future as well," said Klein.

Other projects include an expansion of the Boys & Girls Club in Arlington, Whitehorse Trail improvements and a skate park in Darrington.

The Arlington Boys & Girls Club expansion is currently underway and a joint ribbon cutting with Quake Field is tentatively scheduled for May.

"I'm really proud to be a part of this project," said Dunc.

"I'm really thankful for all the partners that helped make this happen," said Klein, who thanked others like Bill Tsoukalas from the Boys & Girls Club of Snohomish County, the city of Arlington and Stilly Valley Little League, who have all helped advocate for the project.

 

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