Council eases field crunch |

Council eases field crunch

Michael Traum

If you’re involved with an outdoor activity requiring use of a local field, chances are the Community Athletic Coordinating Council was there before you.

With field demand at an all-time premium – baseball, softball, football, soccer and other sports becoming comparable in participation – it’s the CACC’s task to meet with all interested parties in order to create usage schedules that accommodate the different sports while attempting to provide a fair-usage distribution.

“With youth athletics, adult leagues, city and school district sports, we realized there’s a need to coordinate the athletic field usage,” said Steve Weiss, current president of the CACC.

The South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation Department was originally the sole organizer of field time. Starting in 1990, it became evident that with the rising interest in a widening variety of sports came the need to better understand the needs of the various groups.

The CACC, which came together in 1987 as a group of sports-minded locals interested in securing funding for field maintenance and exploring feasibility of building new facilities, decided to expand into a full-fledged community group – a move intended to bring together all interested parties. And, in a city agreement with the Lake Tahoe Unified School District which owns the fields, the CACC agreed to assist the recreation department in complete maintenance of the fields as well.

“We want to make sure everyone is aware of what it takes to make this all work,” Weiss said. “There’s a better understanding now between the sports and the problems that are unique to each.”

Currently, youth football, AYSO, ASA softball, South Tahoe High, South Tahoe Little League, LTUSD, Douglas County Parks, club soccer, South Tahoe Booster Club, South Tahoe Middle School, Babe Ruth and other at-large members are listed by the council as active participants.

Dave Huber, past president of Babe Ruth, said coordinating of fields by one group is a must.

“I wish the attendance at the meetings was better, with more representatives of the different groups. It’s getting tighter and tighter all the time,” Huber said.

Added retiring recreation department director Don Radford, “For the most part, the coordination and cooperation has gotten better, especially in the past two years.”

Aside from field usage, the CACC has a majority of its attention focused on the completion of the “Field of Dreams,” a project brought to the group in 1991 by local sports enthusiasts Jan and Karen Johnson. After fund-raising began in 1992, with the first work having been completed in 1993, the council expects to have the multi-use field, which is located at South Tahoe High, to be finally ready for use later this summer.

“There have been some delays, but I think it’s gone well. We have enough (funds) to finish this year,” Weiss said.

With the major hurdle of fund-raising having been, for the most part, completed, Weiss said the group will see the project through to completion before looking into other possible field-building efforts.

“We’re past the peak of field usage. Certain fields are wearing out faster than we can keep them. This won’t solve all the problems, but it will help spread out the wear and tear,” he said.

Added Jan Johnson, who now coaches the varsity softball team at South Tahoe High, “It was frustrating to see it take so long. I’d sure like to see it happen. Maybe we can play some of our home games out there this season.”

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