Soccer players cry foul over park field closures

May 14, 2003
Santa Paula City Council

Adults and youth soccer players cried foul at the May 5th City Council meeting where they asked for updates and quick action on the closure of two local fields.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesAdults and youth soccer players cried foul at the May 5th City Council meeting where they asked for updates and quick action on the closure of two local fields.The city recently closed the soccer fields at Las Piedras and Teague parks for repairs after deciding to do much of the work with staff when costs proved prohibitive.Dozens of soccer players attended the meeting to hear their representatives ask the council for a timeline on the work and tell how practice has been seriously curtailed due to the lack of available space.There are about 17 adult teams in the city, said Miguel Rico, and now players are forced to leave the city to try to find playable fields.“The two parks have been closed for repair for two months and nothing has been done to them,” and an offer to the Community Services Department to help rebuild the soccer fields went unanswered, said Rico,Rico said he also coaches youth girls who are unable to use fields at local schools because they lack the “proper insurance, whatever the reason we don’t know. We see other kids playing with no problem and we’re the only ones shutout; it’s not right. . .we’re also taxpayers.”
Even with improvements to the two parks the city still lacks fields for the city’s 600 to 700 players, noted youth soccer coach Martine de la Rosa.“My concern is yours,” said City Councilman Rick Cook who noted that he had urged that the field repair be a priority when it became “an embarrassment to me.”Explanatory signage for the work area - discussed by the council prior to the closures - was to be posted to “help answer some of the questions; they put the fences up but no signs,” noted Cook, who suggested that the soccer players approach the school board about school field usage.Public Works Director/City Engineer Cliff Finley told the council that work has begun on the fields including aeration. Gypsum and seeding are scheduled but the recent weather “has slowed down the process. . .”Completion of the project also depends on the weather, Finley added, but “we hope six weeks or so; we do apologize to the community but if we don’t do it right,” the fields will soon deteriorate.“We did our best to look at the soccer calendar for the year but in Santa Paula it is a 12-month sport,” said City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz. “We’re dedicated to getting it done in a six-week timeframe,” if the weather cooperates, and signage will go up immediately.“With aeration, it would appear that nothing has been done,” although the rehabilitation process has started, noted Mayor John Procter.

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