New maintenance facility possible at Steel Lake Annex

The proposed plan could impact Federal Way’s skateboard park, baseball fields and nearby housing.

The City of Federal Way is looking into building a new Operations and Maintenance Facility near Steel Lake Park, which could impact nearby amenities and residential housing.

City officials are seeking requests from engineers and architects with qualifications by Aug. 14. The goal is to select a firm for the project by Sept. 30.

While the location is still undecided, the new Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF) is set to be constructed in 2023 and 2024, according to city documents.

Federal Way’s current facility is located at 31130 28th Ave. S. and sits on a 4.1-acre, two parcel site. A conceptual layout image available on the city’s website shows the possible option of a new OMF site constructed near S. 312th Street and 28th Avenue S. It shows the city’s Steel Lake Skateboard Park and two baseball fields would be demolished to make room for parking lots, storage areas and designated space for future expansion.

“The current site is old, substandard and over capacity for the number of city staff it serves,” said Tyler Hemstreet, communications coordinator for the Mayor’s Office. The current “mishmash” of a site consists of a repurposed fire station and a residential house, and the entire property is sloped as well, he said.

Discussion of replacing the OMF site has been ongoing for years, Hemstreet said, as replacement of the facility was first presented to the Federal Way City Council in 2008.

The proposed new site is in close quarters to the Karl Grosch Soccer Field at Steel Lake (2620 S. 312th St.), Historical Society of Federal Way building (2645 S. 312th St.), the Ron Sandwith Teen Center – Boys & Girls Clubs of King County (31453 28th Ave. S.), Federal Way Public Schools’ Truman Campus (31455 28th Ave. S.), and dozens of residential houses and apartment buildings.

Development layout images were prepared for the purposes of preliminary feasibility, the OMF documents said, but they are “not intended to be a basis for design or site selection.”

“It is not yet confirmed that the site at Steel Lake Annex will be utilized as the new site,” Hemstreet said. “The city council requested that city officials look into other properties throughout the city.”

The request for quotation is to evaluate all potential sites and help council select a location. If the Steel Lake Park Annex location is selected, the city anticipates the soccer fields will be untouched and Steel Lake Park itself will not be affected. However, other amenities could be affected.

“The skate park is underutilized and will be removed and turned into a parking lot, which will benefit Steel Lake Park as a whole,” Hemstreet said. “The Historical Society building could be kept in place.”

Operations at the facility are generally 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and only emergencies warrant operations 24/7, Hemstreet said. He said the loudest noises are starting of equipment and back-up beepers. Additionally, he said, part of the site selection will consider the impact to adjacent land uses.

Ultimately, the site is being considered because the area is underutilized, is centrally located within the city, and the city already owns the land, which would remove additional costs, he said.

The City of Federal Way provides streets, storm drainage, non-police fleet and parks operation and maintenance out of several locations. Equipment and material storage are located in several other places in Federal Way including Celebration Park, Steel Lake Park, and an undeveloped half-acre SWM (Sewer Water Management) parcel.

Growth ahead

Federal Way’s population is nearing 100,000 residents, and city officials anticipate the population will increase by 20,000 in the next 20 years.

In addition to city staff providing OMF services, the city contracts with King County and private contractors for specific services such as signs and striping, traffic signal and street light maintenance, vactoring and jet rodding, and some landscape maintenance.

“In the future, the city plans to reduce contract services and conduct this work in-house, thereby increasing staffing upward of 20-30 people in the next 20 years,” the city documents said.

The size of the new Operations and Maintenance Facility needs to accommodate this future growth both in staffing and associated equipment, the documents said.

Documents also say that a future maintenance facility will need to either include or have space available for fueling of city vehicles and equipment, and a maintenance area of the same.

The new site requires secure enclosed storage for large and small equipment, outdoor laydown, and racking areas for materials. City officials are evaluating the potential of constructing a covered stormwater waste facility, according to the documents.

Future plans for staffing include an additional 37 employees for a total of 103 from 66. There are plans to increase vehicle and large equipment inventory with dump trucks, sanders, snow plows and crew trucks. Additional storage plans include space for beauty bark, soil, road salt, shopping carts and more.

Infrastructure maintained in Federal Way includes 255 centerline miles of roadway, 228 miles of pipe, 12,536 catch basins, 441 retention/detention and water quality facilities, 875 acres of developed park; and over 500 acres of open space.

Image from City of Federal Way                                City of Federal Way Operations and Maintenance Facility Conceptual Layout Steel Lake Annex.

Image from City of Federal Way City of Federal Way Operations and Maintenance Facility Conceptual Layout Steel Lake Annex.