While the school board has not yet decided whether or not to grant public access to our new, multi-million dollar sports complex, the public will probably be excluded.
The many challenges facing maintenance and administration of the track and football field were enumerated at Tuesday’s regular board meeting. They are numerous and serious. What we have today is a beautiful, very expensive, and very fragile sports complex. This evens the playing field with many other schools and districts which have also up-graded to artificial turf and all-weather track.
The track can be quickly and seriously damaged by anyone wearing conventional baseball or soccer shoes – which has already happened by two trespassers who ran across the track from the baseball field. While minor damage can be repaired by local staff, the manufacturers of the track and turf have a minimum charge of $3,000 to correct greater damage. Great care and vigilance will be needed to preserve this expensive new facility.
The field lighting is a huge improvement. For 20 years, shooting night football photos under the old lights has been a challenge, often requiring the photographer to creep onto the field. No more. The new lighting turns night into day, making video and photography easy.
The big question: will the residents of Fillmore respect and preserve this fragile new jewel of a sports complex? How fragile? Only water will be permitted on the field; no Gatorade, no gum, no food, no sand, no more huddle for an emergency whiz, etc. The players themselves will have to walk to the field on a special covering to avoid damaging the track.
I certainly hope all goes well. But, (sniff) I will always miss the grass, the mud, the dust, and the grass stains of a real football field – but I won’t miss those old lights.
Preserving the new field will be a test of community pride and character.
Parking remains a huge and growing problem. Considering the new swimming pool complex, the Boys & Girls Club, normal school and residential traffic and all the new anticipated contests (often simultaneous) adequate parking is a looming nightmare of chaotic proportions. First Street between “A” and Central will soon become Fillmore’s busiest foot and vehicle traffic area – and remain so for decades. It’s a little late now, but the pool complex should have been located elsewhere. It is now possible (and probable) to have a track and field event, softball and baseball games, a swim meet, and Boys & Girls Club event all at the same time. Carmel corn and cotton candy vendors should get rich. I would like to be buzzing the crowds in my ultralight machine, 100 feet above the fray, with camera in hand on those special days!