Newport plans to spend half a million in federal relief funds to build a grass football field at Sam Case Elementary, rather than convert part of the roadside parking lot at Agate Beach to a multi-purpose grass field, in a deal that would give the city scheduling rights during non-school hours for the next 10 years.
One of the projects the Newport City Council proposed to undertake with its $2.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds was to convert an eastern portion of the Agate Beach State Park parking lot into a lot that could make football easier.
According to City Manager Spencer Nebel’s report to council for its regular Monday session, the Lincoln County School District contacted the city after its first ARPA fund allocation meeting and suggested it invest the planned $500,000. for Agate Beach in a new artificial turf pitch in Sam Case.
Under a proposed intergovernmental agreement, the city’s primary responsibility would be funding half a million – the district would manage the construction, maintenance and repairs, as well as the provision of sanitation facilities in the school for users in the field (the city would be responsible for basic services cleaning and storage of toilets).
The city would have the right to schedule field use outside of school hours, though the district would be granted five “special use days” per year of priority use when school is not in session. .
“The District agrees to keep the land open for public use unless mandated by a federal, state or county authority, or if it is necessary to close the space for maintenance or security purposes” , indicates the proposed intergovernmental agreement.
At the end of 10 years after the end of construction, the school district would be responsible for the use of the land at all times. If the district terminates the agreement before the end of the 10 years, it will be required to repay $50,000 per year before the end of the term.
Nebel told councilors the school district’s facilities manager said they would need to order sod by the end of April to complete construction this calendar year, but the district would consider deferring the project to next year. .
A preliminary estimate puts the construction costs at over $500,000. The district would be responsible for any overruns.
Central Coast Soccer Association president Thomas Hurst submitted a letter in support of the project.
“While we recognize that the field improvements at Sam Case Elementary School will not result in an increase in the total amount of field space available, we believe this project is the best option available to increase the efficient use of space on the pitch, which will benefit local young footballers,” he wrote. “High utilization rates and sub-optimal weather conditions make it very difficult to maintain sports pitches quality natural grass along the Oregon Coast.The result is an uneven and potentially dangerous playing surface.
After some discussion, council eventually approved a motion by Councilman Cynthia Jacobi to complete the intergovernmental agreement, pending final review and approval of its terms by City Attorney David Allen.
Councilman Ryan Parker was the only one to vote against approving the deal. He said earlier in the discussion that he would need to see the issue of field lighting at the college before providing this funding, given the feedback he received from community members.