New field closure policy will affect usage |

New field closure policy will affect usage

Sarah Gonser

Before the state of South Lake Tahoe’s playing fields gets much worse, the school district’s athletic department, the Community Athletic Coordinating Council and the Parks and Recreation Department have agreed to limit practice and game time.

“Basically it’s a community action as a result of how badly we’re wearing our fields out, said Park Superintendent Steve Weiss. “Everybody has a different interpretation of when they should be playing and under what conditions.”

So to limit the damage to the city’s 12 fields, Weiss said the fields will now be closed during and after any wet weather, and for the entire season following the first Sunday of November.

“This is just another way to save our fields and minimize the wear and tear we put on them,” Weiss said. “Our fields really need a rest.”

But what may be good for the grass might become a serious problem for some of the field users. According to Paula Peterson, in charge of publicity for Pop Warner Football, the mandatory field closure rules will severely limit the after-school group’s practice time.

“It will definitely affect all the teams that make it into the playoffs,” Peterson said. “We’d have to check into local schools to see whether we can find some indoor space to practice in.”

Approximately 150 children, ages 7 to 14, began training for the Pop Warner Football program in August, Peterson said. The season opened in September and lasts eight weeks.

“If they make it into the playoffs though, that goes into November and they definitely need the after-school time for practice,” she said. “We already face the issue of all the schools we compete against not having the snow we do, and therefore having more practice time. This will definitely be a problem, especially since field space is so limited already.”

Weiss said the first Sunday of November was chosen as a seasonal closure date because most youth leagues and athletic organizations have completed their playing seasons by then.

“Playoffs might be an exception, but after the first Sunday of November, at the latest, only the schools themselves are allowed on the fields,” Weiss said. “And that’s all weather-dependent anyway.”

Peterson said the Pop Warner team considered using Douglas County’s Kahle Community Park in the past but decided against it because their practice hours conflicted with neighborhood policies.

“We were offered the use of Kahle Park fields, but we have to practice at night and the residents in the neighborhood have a light rule, so that didn’t work out,” she said. “Now they might have to reconsider.”

To find out whether a field is open or closed, call the South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation Department at (530) 542-6056

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