04/07/2012: "SJI Sport Fields Need Our Help"
The decision for the community to invest in a new youth sports complex was made many years ago. Since that time many things have changed, but not the primary need for better, safer, and more sports fields. Over the past three years we have had record turnout in our youth sports programs, and this expanded use has put additional demands on our limited sports fields, resulting in conditions that are at best un-playable, and in the worst case dangerous. Additionally, as our overall community has grown, we have developed a new "community need" for family-friendly parks where all of us can enjoy the outdoors and time with our family and friends. The San Juan Community Fields made sense 15 years ago and it makes even more sense today. In one state-of-the-art facility we get the sports fields we need to support the young athletes of our community AND a 30 acre open space park to be enjoyed by islanders of all ages, with walking trails, picnic areas, and a children's playground, all within walking distance of town.
The decision to move ahead with the development was made many years ago and now we have another decision to make as a community: The decision to pull together, put aside our differences, and work together to complete the first phase of the complex, which will open the park and get kids playing on the first multi-use field.
In these times, not everyone can support this project financially, but we all can (and should) give this project our collective support, emotional energy, and the type of enthusiasm only this unique community can muster.
In a couple of weeks, on April 21st, we will all have the opportunity to demonstrate our support for the San Juan Community Fields by participating in a community-wide fund raising event. Please come and give generously both financially and with your enthusiastic support.
San Juan Island
Anyone who is involved with playing sports on this island is aware of the limited amount of field space available. This spring the high school has boys’ soccer, lacrosse and baseball teams all vying for space for games and practice on just two fields. There are twenty-four teams in youth baseball and softball that have to share three fields with the girls’ high school softball team.
We have a hard time imagining a community of our size that has so limited a supply of field space. There is no Town, County or local parks on SJI that have playing fields. Both Orcas and Lopez have some. The high school baseball team has a beautiful field all to itself but that field is at risk to be lost at any time when the Catholic Church decommissions the field to make space for their own building plans.
The SJI school district has 30 acres of land in town at the end of Carter Avenue that is wonderfully flat and half way to being completed as playing fields. All that is missing is money. On Saturday, April 21 we have an opportunity to remedy some of this with a big fundraiser at the Fairgrounds to raise money to complete the first of several fields.
One of our favorite things about playing and watching baseball, soccer, softball, football and lacrosse here on SJI is the opportunity to bump into so many other islanders that you don’t get to see as often as you would like. It is one of those occasions that make our island a community and make it such a great place to live and raise a family. Saturday the 21st will be another such occasion. Please be there.
Scott and Tori Zehner
San Juan Island