UPDATE MARCH 11: The story lists demolition of the Mr T’s batting cage structure as one of the priorities for the stadium. The demolition was included in the priorities list that was submitted by the City of Hoquiam to the Daily World, but has since been removed.
Nearly $1 million in repairs are in store for Olympic Stadium in Hoquiam, following the city council’s adoption of a proposed contract for architectural and engineering services for the historical landmark. And, the council learned Monday night, a summer baseball league for college players is returning for a second year.
City Administrator Brian Shay said the contract is for $913,000, with $900,000 coming from Community Development Block Grant funding. The city has an ongoing program to make major renovations and repairs to the stadium over a period of years.
“We could focus on repairs throughout the entire stadium, we could focus on one section itself, like maybe just the Cherry Street side,” said Shay. Explaining the focus of work to council, Shay said the architect will help the city prioritize an existing list of needed repairs, including walkways, railings, ramps, and siding. The final scope will be decided upon by the council.
Shay said the hope is that the bidding and construction process can wrap up before football season begins.
The council also approved a new lease agreement with the Cascade Collegiate League, a summer wooden bat league now in its third year, the second year of being based in Hoquiam. There are six teams, but no single team will be based in Hoquiam. Instead, each weekend, players from around Western Washington meet up with the rest of their team in Hoquiam and all the league’s games are played there. Last year, games were played Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The upcoming repairs represent phase two of plans for the stadium, “Major components of this phased project include structural improvements to the stadium, renovation and repair of grandstands and walkways, and improvements to ADA accessibility.” Phase one of the plans included the new front entry, new fire suppression system under the grandstands and replacement of some doors.
On the National Register of Historic Places, Olympic Stadium was opened in 1938. With funding from a federal Civil Works Administration grant in 1932, the City of Hoquiam was able to construct this 9,000 seat all-wood stadium. It was constructed with an old growth fir heavy-timber frame with cedar shingle siding.
The city has big plans for the historic stadium. A priority list from last summer includes several items in phase two which represent structural repairs and improvements. The list notes that the total cost “could easily exceed $3 million,” adding that the intent of the city is to include one or more structural improvements within each grant request, gradually completing this work in a phased approach. Significant structural upgrades to the facility were part of an improvement project completed in the mid 1980’s.
Convenience items planned for phase two include addition of a restroom in the main entry, demolition of the “Mr. T” batting cage structure adjacent to the stadium, additional parking, synthetic turf for the baseball infield, drainage improvements and a new parks department shop and storage capabilities.
Hoquiam Mayor Ben Winkelman added after the city council meeting, “A huge thank you to Tracy for her work on not only the Saving America’s Treasures grants but several others,” referring to Parks Department Head Tracy Wood.
The Save America’s Treasures Grants program was established in 1998 by the National Park Service in cooperation with its partners, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities and is funded through the Historic Preservation Fund, using revenue from Outer Continental Shelf oil lease revenue, not tax dollars.
Councilperson Paul McMillan said the council also is considering a turf idea brought forth by councilperson Dave Hinchen that will seek separate funding through grants and donations and could bring in events such as baseball, football, and soccer tournaments. Olympic Stadium hosts Hoquiam High School football, baseball, soccer, and Grays Harbor College baseball games each year, along with community events such as the annual Loggers Playday and other festivals.