Happening nearby: Lynnwood to consider alternative infill for new Meadowdale Playfields

An aerial view of the playfields to be renovated. (Image courtesy the City of Lynnwood)

Bids from developers for the new Meadowdale Playfield project will include options for two alternative infill materials other than crumb rubber, those involved with the project announced to the Lynnwood City Council on Monday.

The Meadowdale Playfields were a popular complex for sporting games and tournaments in the 1990s, shortly after they were built. They have not been renovated since they were originally built in 1990. The fields are not as popular as they once were for sporting events.

The Lynnwood Parks and Recreation Department hopes to make the fields more attractive and reliable through this renovation. Local athletic organizations have told representatives with Lynnwood Parks and Recreation that once the fields are renovated, they would like to rent the space for tournaments and other sporting events.

“We know that these five fields will not accommodate the current demand that is being requested,” Olson said, due to the high level of interest in the renovated fields.

The renovation plans include turning the site’s two soccer/multi-purpose fields into artificial turf fields for consistent, all-weather play. The infields of three softball fields will also be artificial turf, with natural grass outfields.

Recently, those involved with planning decided to include additional infill materials in the bids, other than just crumb rubber.

The crumb rubber bid will still be the base bid, according to Sarah Olson, Lynnwood’s Deputy Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts. However, bids will also contain the alternatives of coated crumb rubber and organic cork. The bids will include costs for installation, as well as maintenance and replacement costs for those fields with each infill option.

The decision to open up bidding to include alternative infills came after some residents spoke against the use of crumb rubber at a December community outreach meeting for the Meadowdale Playfields project. Olson said opening up to other options is also consistent with previous bids for new fields acquired by the Edmonds School District, which owns the property where the playfields are located.

“What ultimately gets chosen isn’t just about a price point or what’s included in our alternate budgets, but this property is owned by the School District, and the School Board has final say on the selection of whatever we move forward to the development phase,” Olson said.

In 2016, bids for new fields at two high schools were presented to the Edmonds School Board. They selected crumb rubber as the infill material for those fields. Earlier this month, the School Board discussed adding signs to crumb rubber fields with safety instructions, such as washing hands after playing on the fields.

The Edmonds City Council voted to place an 18-month moratorium on crumb rubber fields in the city limits after local residents raised health and environment concerns. That moratorium is scheduled to expire this summer.

Though the Edmonds School District owns the land that the Meadowdale Playfields are on, the City of Lynnwood is spearheading their redevelopment.

The project is expected to cost $4,740,000 total, with the City of Lynnwood providing most of the funding at $2,597,155. The Edmonds School District is contributing $1,000,000 from the 2014 capital bond. The City of Edmonds is contributing $500,000. The project’s other three partners, Snohomish County, RCO and TPA, are contributing the remaining amount.

Final design of the fields will be completed in March. Bids will open in May and construction will begin in June. The fields are expected to be finished by Dec. 31.

The Meadowdale Playfields are the only remaining athletic facility in Lynnwood, after Lynnwood High School relocated to its new location in Bothell in 2009.

–By Natalie Covate

  1. This is great news! Gratitude goes to all those involved for being thoughtful about the data on rubber crumble and its potential to harm kids. Thank you, Lynnwood, for leading the way and Mayor Nicola Smith for her leadership.

  2. Hopefully the walking paths will remain and still be open to dogs on leash. We enjoy that benefit. And I would be the first to reinforce the on-leash requirement. There’s too many off-leash incidents and it creates problems. It’s an excellent facility and we look forward to the renovation!

    1. Hi Mike,

      A portion of the pathway will be closed during construction (the eastern and southern portion near the soccer fields) due to damage from tree roots and will be reconstructed, widened, and made ADA accessible.

      We often have the park patrolled by the City’s animal control police officer to help with leash enforcement. If you have continued concerns with park users not following the leash rules, please give us a call and we’ll do our best to step up spot enforcement. Hopefully, with the opening of our first off-leash area at nearby Lynndale Park, this issue will decrease.

      Thank you!

  3. Hopefully as the Meadowdale field renovation is being completed all of entities involved in the project will also upgrade the children’s play toys! The current kne’s are dangerous and the wooden parts are worn and filled with slivers, etc. we’ve had to remove a few large slivers for our grandson’s hands after they’ve played on the structures! They can no longer use them as they are unsafe!

    They love the park/duck pond, etc. hopefully everything will get attention during the project!

  4. This is great news that the City of Lynnwood and the School District are soliciting alternative bids to the crumb rubber! I attended the meeting and was one of many in the community who are adverse to the toxic crumb rubber fields. These surfaces that our children play on contain lead, arsenic, cadmium, phalates (hormone disruptors) and other very toxic materials. Many parents are learning now about the health hazards associated with playing on these fields. A mother told me her son played on the new Edmonds Woodway fields as a goalie and after the game was horribly congested with an icky black dust that he blew out of his nose. She refused to let him play on those fields after that. The company that was being considered for this project, Field Turf Co., have a history of problems with their fields, such as turf deteriorating (more toxic chemicals leaching into the area), and they are being sued for fraud by government officials as well as individuals. Goggle them, quite interesting. Our lovely playfields are home to birds and other wildlife too…they would be adversely affected by the leaching of these toxic materials, as well as the Meadowmere neighborhood below the field (water runs downhill). Another point, most everyone I meet up at the fields never heard about the meetup in December to inform the community and there was never a sign posted at the fields announcing the meeting. I proposed they make jobs and save money by hiring the Edmonds Community College Horticulture dept. to maintain grass fields with top notch drainage. It would sure save alot of taxpayer dollars instead of the $5.5 million planned. In any case, the organic cork sounds like an acceptable alternative to grass. Finally, many people asked if they were also upgrading the playground. It is indeed in sad shape. I think part of the budget should definitely go towards that as well, as it serves our local community who use the park all the time, not just the sports clubs renting the fields. Don’t overlook our community!

  5. For more information on the potential risks of waste-tire crumb rubber as well as info on alternatives visit FactsOnCrumbRubber.org

    I for one would be grateful to have turf fields I was comfortable having my child play on!

    1. Julia,
      It is the same site and should redirect, but I used caps- I now I know that does not work. Thank you for posting a working link! Toxicologist Dr. Stephen Gilbert is top in the field and respected both locally and nationally for his work.

  6. This is Sarah Olson, Deputy Director of Lynnwood’s Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department. The City of Lynnwood is the project manager for the project team which includes the School District and the City of Edmonds. We have been fielding several inquiries about this project since this article was posted and have supplied supplemental information to LynnwoodToday for a follow-up.

    I offer several clarifications to information which has been circulated and invite those interested in additional project information to visit our project website or contact me by phone or email.

    The project team has determined to put the project out to bid identifying SBR rubber infill (also known as crumb rubber) as the base bid option with two alternative infill options: coated SBR and organic cork. The project team will review and evaluate overall cost, performance, maintenance and operation costs, and replacement costs of each of the surfacing material option prior to making an infill selection recommendation. The project team will make a recommendation to the Edmonds School District School Board who will make the final decision and authorize the construction phase. Currently, we are completing the design phase and have NOT secured a turf vendor or company for this project. The infill material has yet to be determined and the project is not scheduled to go to bid and contractor selected until March.

    Several trees that line the multipurpose fields to the south and east will be removed to accommodate the construction zone or are trees planted near the walking path that have caused root intrusion damage to the asphalt paving. All trees proposed for removal will be replaced with new trees in nearby locations in accordance with the Lynnwood Municipal Code. The plans originally proposed removing 35 trees with 80 replacement trees installed. As a result of input received from the public open house, a total of 7 additional trees shall be retained, and therefore we will not be required to install 12 replacement trees. The revised plan now calls for a total of 28 trees to be removed and replaced with 68 trees.

    The five playfield facilities will be available for organized and scheduled use with a permit secured from the Lynnwood Parks & Recreation Department. Teams and organizations interested in using the fields will be required to secure a permit in advance of their practice, game or tournament. This applies to all fee-based programming. When the fields are not scheduled for permitted use, non-organized use will continue to be allowed such as a parent practicing pitching or hitting with a child, or a group of kids playing a pick-up game of soccer (uncoached/unscheduled). This practice has been in place since Meadowdale Playfields was first opened. With the addition of the all-weather surfacing, we anticipate the availability for community access will increase. Current conditions offer limited, seasonal availability and use of the athletic facilities including access to the basketball court, playground and walking loop trail. Once the improvements are completed, the entire complex will be available for year-round access and use. Fields may be locked after hours or during scheduled maintenance.


    Sarah Olson, Deputy Director

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