Archive for Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Parents want to level playing fields

Better local facilities needed to compete with area towns, forum participants say

November 21, 2006


When Kenneth Click and his family moved to the Lawrence area four years ago, they liked what they saw.

Good schools. A job for his wife just down the road in Topeka.

But if Click would have looked at the recreational sports facilities here, things might be different.

"If I would have done that, we may have moved east of here," Click said at a community forum Monday.

Click and almost two dozen others told the leaders of a Lawrence organization that Lawrence sports and recreation facilities kids need are either falling apart or don't exist at all, and they support improvements and additions almost without question.

Partners for Lawrence Athletics and Youth, or PLAY, organized the forum Monday night at the Lawrence Arts Center as part of the group's research on gauging interest in adding multiuse sports facilities in the area.

Lawrence-based Treanor Architects is conducting a study on the issue financed by the city, county, Lawrence school district and Lawrence Chamber of Commerce.

From the beginning, stakeholders involved with the group said the message has been both apparent and nearly unanimous: Many Lawrence kids have few places to play and practice sports in town.

And the ones they do have are drastically overused, leaving city and school staff fighting a losing battle to maintain them.

"We need additional facilities," said Fred DeVictor, director of the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, after hearing comments Monday night. "That's loud and clear."

Parents, coaches and others took the podium inside the arts center Monday and told study conductors and PLAY stakeholders about kids traveling hours for games, practicing sports only once a week and nearly calling games off because field conditions were so poor.

"We've gone so many other places," said 9-year-old Hamza Al-Mulki, a soccer player. "We only practice one day a week, for an hour and a half."

The only real question so far in the study process has hinged on funding: How do you pay for what likely would be a multimillion-dollar sports complex when the city has so many other needs?

Douglas County resident Bill Reynolds said that he, too, wants kids to have a place to play and practice their sports.

"But I don't want anybody to forget: You have to fund it," Reynolds said.

Andrew Pitts, principal architect for Treanor Architects, said funding options for such a project hadn't been discussed yet, but the study should be complete sometime early next year.

Clark said he and many other parents wanted to see action, and soon.

"I'll support it. Bond issue, sales tax, anything," Clark said. "We need to get started soon, guys."


New2Lawrence 11 years, 4 months ago

Let's put it up for a vote. Crush it once and for all and let it go. Why is this getting so much attention? Johnson county does it so we must? Come on. Don't we have larger issues with which to contend?

unite2revolt 11 years, 4 months ago

Its a Sports complex fund it with corporate sponsers and put up advertising all over the thing. For gods sake don't pass a sales tax. Property tax go ahead if you want. But a sales tax no thank you.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 4 months ago

There are other matters that may have been put on the table before this sports complex. Lawrence needs streets,sidewalks,probaly another elementary school,fire station,more police and the library was on the list prior to the sports complex. I see another neighborhood Rec Center on the horizon which minimizes driving.

Topeka and JOCO have many more taxpayers to share the cost of such items. The reality that Lawrence is a small town is the deal. Other small towns may have a complex but maybe not a great public school system? Perhaps putting the word out for private investors might be a good idea.

Why did Sport 2 Sport go out of business?

Yes I understand the bad traffic situation at YSI...very bad planning on the part of KDOT and local officials! Our son has been officiating soccer for some time. KDOT should cut the speed limit 1 mile on either side of that signaled intersection since they participated in that decison and they set speed limits. Apparently some movers and shakers did not place a high need priority for YSI OR they assumed Lawrence taxpayers would be anxiously awaiting an opportunity to relocate the facilities. All the local officials and KDOT should have said NO SLT at that location or provide safe passage...YSI got neither. YSI has spent so much time and money to provide for children and adults and look what they got in the end for their efforts...a dangerous intersection. Absolutely irresponsible planning.

pelliott 11 years, 4 months ago

NONONO I do not want to subsidize this. I would encourage more back yard play. less drive them there and drop them off. Just too many pictures of too many nasty fights between the refs and the parents. Youth sports culture has to clean up a lot before I see it as a positive again. Property taxes no, sales tax no. Only way I would go is let them put donation cans in sports wear stores showing a bunch of beautifully uniformed kids getting out of suvs onto an state of the art peewee sports complex , saying donate so these kids can experience a slickly packaged superheated competitive aggressive sports experiance that will leave their bodies only possibly damaged for life.

sourpuss 11 years, 4 months ago

I support children's sports facilities in Lawrence. Kids need more exercise and, as a community, we should provide playspace for kids and adults alike. Sports also help to keep down deliquency. However, sports are NOT just for affluent children in minivans. As well, sports can be well-managed so they do as little harm to the participants as possible (contact football is obviously not a great choice for young children).

Sports is not about exceling physically or mastering an activity. It is about structured play. Kids should be getting plenty of this in school as I did, but with NCLB, gym is being eroded. I know some kids hate gym/physical activity/sport, but there are a LOT of children out there who would benefit from neighborhood sports activities.

I know I benefitted tremendously from sports, and I am not some sort of gifted athlete (I never started, etc.) However, I had fun, I didn't get hurt, and I made a lot of friends. Best of all, I got a lot of exercise, got to travel around the region and see other midwesterners, and I would hate for children these days not to be able to experience how much fun it can be.

mistygreen 11 years, 4 months ago people are so anti-sports and anti-children. What I cannot understand is why? Were you not allowed to participate in sports? I can feel the envy just pouring out in the posts. Yes, there are some over enthuastic, obsessed parents that have their children involved in sports, but not all parents are that way. They want to have their children participate, to learn sportmanship, to be a team player. Participating in sports does teach fair play, and how to work together as a team. I'm not sure what you all do for a living, but most job skills these day focus on being a "team player". What better way to teach children? Finally, it is about the children, wouldn't you want your children or grandchildren, nieces and nephews to be able to have a nice place to play?

mom_of_three 11 years, 4 months ago

Yes, this city needs a sports complex for youth. YSI is a good start. Put a building over there twice the size of Sport2Sport, a few more ball fields, update the soccer/football fields, and maybe build a high school field and we would be doing all right. Private donations may be a good idea, but the city/schools also needs to provide some funding or upkeep.

nuclearhawk 11 years, 4 months ago

The proposal is not simply to compete with other communities and provide "beautifully uniformed kids getting out of SUVs" a place to play.

There are numerous studies, not to mention common sense, to support the idea that kids involved in sports and recreational programs are much less likely to get into trouble and much more likely to do well in school and be successful in their future endeavors.

This community has not developed recreational facilities to support the youth in nearly fifteen years. In the twenty years I have been in Lawrence facilities for youth recreation and competition have been reduced. Skating rink, miniature golf, gym availability, field availability, sport to sport, etc. In the last fifteen years we have made sure the adults of the community have whatever they need. A great softball complex, a new golf course and more adult recreational programs. All of which I participate in and enjoy. However, the youth are the future.

What has the community done for its' youth? Very little. We continue to see the elimination of programs at our schools and limitations on the programs the community can support for the youth due to limited, pathetic and embarassing facilities. Lawrence claims to be such a progressive community and one to be proud of. I become more and more dissappointed in this no growth, none progressive, go nowhere community. I am crazy about Lawrence, but am so dissappointed in the direction we have been headed the last few years.

Commissioners boog, schauner and rundle. What an impact you will leave on Lawrence. I have no doubt you will try to shut this down just as you have shut down everything else in this community. In the coming years you can set back and admire the damage you have reaped on this once progressive community.

It was interesting at the public meeting last night to listen to one gentlemen speak of his great afternoon golf game and the great time he had and then be critical of recreational opportunities for our youth.

We are such a selfish community. We can afford so much until it comes to our youth and their futures. It took long enough to support the schools I imagine this will take even longer.

SoundMind 11 years, 4 months ago

The amount of assumptions - and wrong assumptions at that - surrounding this process is worrisome, to say the least.

The PLAY committee is currently conducting a needs survey to determine what is needed in Lawrence. I believe that there are private investors out there, but they're waiting in the wings to see what it is that is needed, first, before committing any funds to the project. That makes infinite sense to me.

And Sport2Sport did not "go out of business." It closed. There is a big difference, there.

And I'm just curious, from the naysayers who've decried the "youth sports culture" . . . when is the last time you attended a youth basketball game? Or soccer game? Or are you just basing your view of the "youth sports culture" on the minute number of incidents reported in the media that focus only on the bad aspects?

Have you spent a September Saturday (from 8:00 a.m. well through the afternoon) taking in any of the youth soccer games at YSI?

Have you spent a Saturday during November or December at Holcom, Langston Hughes gym, or the Community building seeing the hundreds of children playing parks and rec basketball? Or on the ball fields around town during the summer?

The youth sports culture I'VE experience is one of friendliness, camaraderie, sportsmanship, athleticism, and plain 'ol love of the game.

Stephen Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago

I am not anti sports but I am wanting PLAY to think about using some common sense.

For example, both LHS and FSHS both have football field on their school grounds but don't use them to play football games. Why? Why can't we just upgrade those facilities first instead of building a STADIUM.

Does sports produce team building? Most of the time yes. My son played club soccer at Kaw Valley and it is not a good experience. Most of his teammates only wanted to play offense. They didn't practice as a team and the skills coaching was horrible. The game coach did his best to get them to work as a team and get the kids a chance to play more positions. It is hard for a game coach to tell a kid he needs to play defense when the club directors tells that same kid he is a great dribbler. These few kids would try to take on the other team by theirselves. Great teamwork coaching Mo.

The problem I see with PLAY is the school board (both past and present) have choosen not build a sports complex. the same with the city commission (both past and present). By trying to combine youth sports with high schools sports to me is a disaster in the making.

Another soccer tidbit. The kids who play in KC and pay around a $1,000 actually somewhere arounf $800. they play in a highly competive league. the money pays for their entrance fee into the league, uniforms, balls and PAYING THEIR COACH TO COACH THEM.

I don't have a rpoblem with sports but I think we should fund other things first. If their is money left over lets fund the other sports first then use the remaining money for the big three (football, baseball, and basketball) instread of giving them more and more.

At last nights meeting we were compared to Topeka and Overland Park. It is too bad these people don't realize there are far more businessess that provide good jobs and pay taxes in those two towns instead of here.

i think the battle cry should be "Remember Dexter Manley."

Tammy Copp-Barta 11 years, 4 months ago

HHmm .. let's take the money we're wasting to fight Wal-mart and build it .. personally I think there are many other things that Lawrence needs besides a sports place for kids to hang out and get into trouble or a new public library when most people use the internet.

Don't get me wrong. Kids do need an outlet. My parents said it 30 years ago and were shot down when they inquired about a place at 9th and New Hampshire. Problem with these facilities is the youth taking care of it, the maintenance and kids hanging around getting into situations they shouldn't.

I hosted a gymnastics party at the East Lawrence center through Parks & Rec for my daughters 10th birthday. We had about 10 kids. The girls were very well behaved, however, the youth that came in to play while we were there were out of control, kept coming in asking for food at the party, running around like banshi's and tearing up the bathrooms. The person behind the desk didn't do a thing, even when I complained about the bathroom incident. I personally don't want to invest more money in another facility to be torn up. I can put that money on my own house!

Stephen Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago


I have spent many hours watching and coaching kids at most of the locations. I have seen a lot of good things but I have also seen a lot of things. I have seen kids running up the score on other kids because they can. I have seen coaches leave their best players in to make sure they win even though they are ahead.

I have also seen great sportsmanship. For example, my son was playing Futsal a couple of years ago. My son team was 10 and the other team was 11 or 12. the other team was clearly superior in skills to us. After a couple of quick goals, the other teams coach (Mark Craig) told his team they had to pass the ball three times before they could attempt a shot. he let them know by running up the score on my sons team they do not improve their skills. To me watching his players respond to his sportmanship was great. Mark really loves coaching soccer and he is a great coach who is coaching for the love of teaching instead of for a living.

i have other examples also of bad sportmanship. I watched a softball game last summer at YSI. Where a team of 5th graders was playing a team of 7th graders. the coaches of the 7th grade team was having his girls run a few bases on a overthrow and score as quickly a possible. The bad thing about it 1/2 of the girls on the 7th grade team couldn't hit the ball. This scoring as quickly a possible di nothing to help them in batting. Also the big coaches from the 7th grade team were standing by the dugout in play. There was an overthrow and it landed behind them and they were blocking the first baseman from the ball. the umpire only allowed their runners to go one base and the coaches were livid. It is hard for a 5th graders to go through three grown men.

I have seen good and bad. I let my parents know I will teach them skills. I am not focused on winning but learning and developing skills and having fun.

remember kids quit sports because it is not fun anymore. Parent get too wrapped up on winning. I have had my days of athletic glory and competitive competitions, I do not need to fuel my competitive desires through my kids.

SoundMind 11 years, 4 months ago

And, of course, Mark Craig coaches soccer in the paid soccer leagues. And the YSI games would have had to have been a Parks and Rec game - with volunteer, probably parent - coaches.

Anectodal evidence is all well and good but, generally speaking, youth sports teaches our kids good things that will benefit them later in life - in all areas of life. To want to deny children decent sports opportunities because of some vague impressions of "youth sports culture" is misguided, at best

Stephen Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago

So sports is the only thing that teaches kids this? What about band, orchestra and scouting?

Maybe we should rush out and inform all of those kids that without sports they will not learn those skills.

i am not saying I am agianst sports but I am saying why can't we look at what we got and improve those instaed of talking about building a sports complex?

The problem with a few studies I have seen are: 1. Most do not take into account the socio-economc 2. parental involvement 3. Are those kids doing only sports 4. geographical area

That is what I have had problems with a few of the studies that I read.

Difference between Mark Craig and the other three coaches- Mark takes advance of his opportunities to teach while the three coaches didn't.

By the way Mark has not been paud for his youth coaching. That is why he doesn't charge $800 to play the team he coaches. If my son had the opportunity to play for him, I would have gladly have paid the money.

Mkh 11 years, 4 months ago

Anybody who thinks Lawrence has an "anti-sports culture" is out of their mind! I can't think of ANYthing in in this community that has more emphasis placed on it than sports, especially directed toward kids.

I would be in favor of improving and expanding playgrounds and park facilities and not funding "sports complexes" that will unavoidably be used to fuel the ultra-competitive sports mania which this town loves to glorify.

Bud Stagg 11 years, 4 months ago

OMG, let's not build any sports facilities and have the kids sit on their butts in front of computers playing cyber sports. I coach, I'm on the board of local sports leagues. We travel to little towns like Basehor who have facilities that make me ashamed to live in Lawrence. Topeka has only about 30,000 more people than lawrence.

Where does our money go??? We have the highest property values, sales tax, property taxes in the damn state. We have the worst roads, sidewalks an SPORTS FACILITIES!

There are thousands of kids who play sports in this town, the high school fields are kept up like crap, they should be artificial turf like every other school district has. We do not have enough ball diamonds or gym space.

For the people who say no, Get the hell out of town and see what other people have, you ain't got #$%@ in this town. I love this town and want it to be a great place to live and raise my children. Quit trying to make this a one horse town, it's much bigger than that and has much more potential. If you build sports facilities, it becomes a better place to live, more people want to live here, more tax dollars, more commerce, more business, more facilities, more parks... It all feeds off one another. You can't have stuff if people don't work and live here. Quit holding Lawrence back!

Luxor 11 years, 4 months ago

Parents constantly want want want want and they always want someone else to pay for it. They're your kids -- if you want something for them, you pay for it. Use that yearly tax break that you get for adding more resource suckers to the planet.

bankboy119 11 years, 4 months ago

The soccer games at YSI are a joke now. The guy that runs it, Mo, has no idea what he's doing. Yes it's fine and dandy that he coached in Europe and all but he's destroying the soccer program here. I've seen many people recently take their children out from YSI and send them to JoCo because of the quality of the program, not the fields.

SoundMind, S2S "closed" because it didn't have enough business. That's the same as going out of business.

I do have a good idea about how to get more funding. Stop spending it on the trash that's decorated the town. That would be a start.

SoundMind 11 years, 4 months ago

I'll respond to point by point, as that seems easiest:

"So sports is the only thing that teaches kids this? What about band, orchestra and scouting?"

I have never said this. Children should be involved in all of those things. But I see nothing to show that band, orchestra, and/or scouting facilities are hampered or limited in this town - but if someone wishes to argue such facilites are - I'd certainly listen to their arguments with an open mind.

"Maybe we should rush out and inform all of those kids that without sports they will not learn those skills."

No, I don't think I will. If you'd like to, feel free.

"i am not saying I am agianst sports but I am saying why can't we look at what we got and improve those instaed of talking about building a sports complex?"

Once again - this process is assessing the needs for all youth sports in this town. You assume, wrongly, that what's needed is already decided. That is not the case.

"The problem with a few studies I have seen are: 1. Most do not take into account the socio-economc 2. parental involvement 3. Are those kids doing only sports 4. geographical area"

I'm not sure what your point is, here, and without having access to these studies to which you're referring, I can't adequately address your point, if you have one.

That is what I have had problems with a few of the studies that I read.

"Difference between Mark Craig and the other three coaches- Mark takes advance of his opportunities to teach while the three coaches didn't.

By the way Mark has not been paud for his youth coaching. That is why he doesn't charge $800 to play the team he coaches. If my son had the opportunity to play for him, I would have gladly have paid the money."

I'm well aware of what Mark Craig does - and I understand he's not paid. But he coaches in a league where all coaches are paid - that was my point - and that was what I said. He may not "charge $800" to play but his team parents still shell out the money for league fees, tournament fees, gas money to drive to Lawrence, uniform fees, etc., etc. His team came close to joining up with the KSA club, but decided not to at the last minute because (as was my understanding - correct me if I'm wrong) that parents wanted to maintain their autonomy. Not because of cost concerns.

mistygreen 11 years, 4 months ago

Commuter-Correct me if I am wrong, no one is saying we cannot improve what facilities Lawrence has, but that the need exists for more facilities. There are too many children, and not enough space for them to play and practice. Unfortunately in this forum it has become a debate for the "bad side" of sports and not what I think is the ultimate goal...providing a safe place for our kids to play sports.

Commuter states: "Maybe we should rush out and inform all of those kids that without sports they will not learn those skills." --That is not true and is an exaggeration of opinion. My children participated in sports, band and scouting. It is because they were provided the opportunity to participate in all activities (of their choosing) that they are now the good students/citizens today.

Leprechaunking13 11 years, 4 months ago

Yes, the high schools have their own football fields at their schools but those get torn up through the season from so much practice. Haskell is the place for both football teams to play and it's getting worse and worse. This is also about basketball space, and then the soccer fields. Another reason is parking, LHS couldn't accomadate all the cars that would need to park in their lot for the game, if you say well park on the streets around it you are going to have angry neighborhood residents, weekly saying they don't have parking for themselves in front of their houses. LHS soccer has to play it's games at YSI, which is so torn up they are not ideal locations for HS sports and most other area teams dont want to come and play on it. Truth is since Holcom was built in 1988 this city hasn't done anything for youth. Yes, kids come into the rec centers and get rowdy, but that can be brought up and alleviated through having good workers in the facility. Also the Rec center in East Lawrence is exactly that in the East Lawrence, although I don't believe that there are any "ghettos" in this city East Lawrence is the closest you will get to it, so it shouldn't be surprising that the kids around that area are a little crazy. However that is no reason to try to prevent our youth from having anywhere to go to play, hang out, or be involved in structured sports. This is a way to combine all of that into one multi use facility, with close to 1000 kids in rec basketball and close to if not more for baseball and softball in the summer, not too mention the youth football and soccer in this town, the complex could generate great revenue from our city and surrounding communities because teams from other cities in all of those sports will want to come to Lawrence to play. Why would we want to keep our facilities how they are, when Coach Self(who has been to MANY places with his job) is calling our facilities and EMBARRASSMENT and the worst he's seen, I'm embarrassed personally and all of Lawrence should be.

Leprechaunking13 11 years, 4 months ago

Also, this isn't just about the youth. This involves everyone, there just aren't enough places for people to just go and play pick up games of basketball, work out for free, places for people to ping pong or racquetball. Also there are locker rooms that some of our less fortunate fellow residents use to change clothes from work, or shower. There are also free weight rooms that MANY, MANY ADULTS use. Many times these rooms are PACKED! Another facility could change all this for the better for everyone, not just the youth of this town but everyone, then it can be put in the back burner and left for another 20 to 30 years...............until a 3rd high school comes into discussions..................

Stephen Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago

I don't know why Mark Craig's team didn't join KSA. I respect what Mark has done.

There is a need for more facilities. OK but where and who is going fund it? Twoi big questions. Last night I heard some person say we NEED a football stadium and it needs to be in a neutral site? Where? No clue.

mistgreen- You kids a good citizens/student due to a combination of things, not sports. Your parenting laso helped. That is not what presented last night night. I sat and talked to a few other people who agree with me.

That is what I am saying the studies do not exclusively prove that only sports teaches children these skills. Is there a study that says this, please let me know I am open to it.

Other extracurricular activities have taken a lot of the brunt of budget problems. No 5th grade band. Other sports like cross country had to let their third coach go because of money. The third coach was added as a safety concern.

The problem I still see is we have facilities that are in bad shape. Part of the problem is because we do not do a good job maintaining them, just like with the higher education buildings.

All I am wanting is some accountablity and I am sorry right now NO ONE is accountable. It is kind of depressing. I guess our leaders must not have played sports when they were younger.

This is sad, I am doing this on my day off.

Leprechaunking13 11 years, 4 months ago

That money from each child, goes to keeping up the gym or field(or what can be done), all the staff that are involved throughout the games(umpires, gym supervisors, referees) paying the SCHOOLS FOR THEIR GYM SPACE, the kids needs supplies provided such as basketballs, baseballs, softballs, bases, bats, helmets, jerseys, baseball/softball shirts, would you like me to continue that's for 2 sports that take up many different spaces throughout the town at different times and that's a lot of factors and a lot of money has to be thrown at it add it up see how expensive that is, now add in the maintenance costs from just general public use as well at the facilities in lawrence and you have one huge bill. Not to mention the fact that LPRD uses scholarships for the parents who cant afford to pay the full cost of the participation fee, where do you think the rest comes out of? THE CITY, yes very good.

conservative 11 years, 4 months ago

What's wrong with the "fields" being just that. Fields with chalk on them to outline the playing area. Worked just fine when I was growing up. When did it become impossible to do things like that and instead require multimillion dollar investments.

You know, my son is involved with chess in his school. I certainly am not advocating that the pieces need to be made from gold and that there needs to be new auditoriums created just to watch the matches.

Nothing wrong with adding additional facilities if they are required, but why does everything always have to be top of the line?

Stephen Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago

Because we have to compete with Johnson County and Topeka.

By following this philosophy. I am going to tell Randy Weiseman that I can not pay the school fees because my neighbors are wearing GAP clothing and I need more money to buy those clothes.

Leprechaunking13 11 years, 4 months ago

The facilities are maintained to the best degree that they can, that's the point they are all so over used by sooooooo many different groups of people day in and day out, that is the main reason that we need a main sports complex that would free up the 3 rec centers for more public activity to ADULTS and others who would want to use the FREE services these building provide, it would make them easier to maintain because there wouldn't be so much hustle and bustle with normal crowds competing with youth sports for spots on the fields, in the gyms, etc.

nuclearhawk 11 years, 4 months ago

Our family has been involved with youth sports for 13 years in Lawrence. We have participated in DCABA, P&R baseball, hoopsters, biddy ball, S2S basketball, P&R basketball, S2S soccer and futsal, volleyball, tennis, softball, soccer at all levels and leagues, Lawrence youth football, swimming, etc. I have coached all but tennis, swimming and volleyball.

There are a lot of great people organizing the leagues, coaching and supporting youth sports. The negative occurences are very rare and unfortunate. The majority of experiences of the youth are rewarding and enjoyable for all involved.

While being involved with all the various sports and seeing practically every site in town it is very apparent our facilities are very poor in the majority of areas. Those who maintain them do they best they can with what they have. There is only so much they can do.

Improve what we have? Let's see what do we have.

We DO NOT have a football stadium, Haskell does. Nothing at Haskell's stadium indicates it is LHS or FSHS. Except the goal post pads on game day. It is an eyesore and a dump. Sure, put new turf on the field and it is the same stadium with very poor facilities, poor concessions with long slow lines, limited restroom facilities, etc. What is good about it? History? Time to grow up Lawrence and move on.

Soccer facilities? Poor parking, pathetic fields, embarassing seating, facility access and small fields. The fields are overused and only so much can be done.

Softball? There isn't a youth softball field in town. There are some youth baseball fields in town adapted to softball, but they are completely different in their needs.

Track, youth baseball, tennis, volleyball. What facilities would it make sense to improve? You still have many of the same problems.

Lets see what the study comes up with and see what we can do for the youth of this community.

Lawrence could be a destination for more than just KU Athletics.

Stephen Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago

i agree the soccer facilities are not good but isn't that more of Kaw Valley issue?

They have choosen top play soccer in the mud and not rotate their fields quickly. They have always blamed the city for the maintenance- lack there of.

By the way. The Kaw Valley Force (Premier teams)uses the fields for practice. They use the field a lot more than any other team.

Also, KSA teams (to the best of my knowledge) do not practice at YSI. They use different facilities.

If we improve YSI, what do you suggest for KSA and any other soccer organization?

Where I grew up a rpivate organization bought land a created a youth baseball park. Two fields nothing to be exicited about and they maintained it without taxpayer money. They still had to pay property tax on it but is was regarded a farm land for some reason. We had to go out and do fundraisers along with paying fees to play. It took time and it is something that town is proudof. It isn't the best or the worst but the individuals took their time to make the fiels better.

Hoots 11 years, 4 months ago

We don't have the tax base they do in JoCo. Why is it everytime you turn around in this town someone wants a new Rolls Royce? We have limited resources here and that's a fact. People are never happy with getting the right tool for the job. It doesn't always have to be dipped in gold or silver be be of value.

Leprechaunking13 11 years, 4 months ago

YSI is just a small part of the issue, we also needs accomadations for basketball, baseball, softball, football, track, volleyball. This isn't just about soccer Commuter, quit trying to put it all on one thing, saying doing one thing to what we already have will fix the problem. Fixing up what he have now only puts off this problem for another 5 years, which is what has happened for the last 15. We need to take care of things when they need to be done and this has NEEDED to be done for a long time.

Stephen Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago

I am talking about soccer becasue it is the one thing out of the whole group there that I know the most about.

As for a "FOOTBALL Complex". The school board will have to do another bond issue for it. Even if they lump in baseball, softball, and track, it will be a hard fight. I would like to know how much they spend for each sport. Funny they don't know that when I ask them.

As for the youth sports (not high school), what is the highest priority? The city owns vacant land that is set aside for parks but does not have the money to create parks.

For the city to do anything, we would have to increase our sales tax or property tax. the last time I heard we capped out our sales tax and couldn't go any higher. I heard this in the last budget discussion about schools. I could be wrong but that is what Weaseman said.

Stephen Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago

couranna1- you forgot business unfriendly. too

packrat 11 years, 4 months ago

I've coached Rec Baseball for the past 5 years and it is always a challenge to get a baseball diamond that is in good enough shape for effective infield practice.

The soccer fields my children practice on are in very poor shape.

The weight room at Holcomb Center definitely needs an upgrade. I've never used the one out east.

If you are going to raise a tax to pay for this, make it a sales tax. That way everyone in the city contributes instead of just the property owners.

Leprechaunking13 11 years, 4 months ago

This is why things that are "priorities" for the city need to be re-evaluated such as the library. Why not just fix up the one that we have instead of spending 60 million dollars for a place people go to check out movies more often than books, and use the computers. Why not take some of that money and put it towards renovating that library that doesn't get 1/3 of the use one of the recreation facilities gets, instead of building a brand new one?

Leprechaunking13 11 years, 4 months ago

Packrat good plan, this involves everyone in the community, the rec centers are open to everyone why not have everyone contribute right?

SoundMind 11 years, 4 months ago

The soccer fields at YSI are not maintained by KVSA - let's get that clear right now. KVSA pays the city of Lawrence over $40,000 a year to "maintain" if you'd like to call it that. The City does an awful job of maintining those fields, at best.

And yes, KVSA premier teams - and their club level teams, practice at YSI. All of the KVSA recreational teams (and last number I saw was around 1,000 kids particiapte in the recreational program, alone) are NOT allowed to practice at YSI - they must find space as they can around town. KSA's teams practice either at KU's practice fields or at Free State's practice field - an arrangement allowed because KSA's directors are Mark Francis and Jason Pendleton.

There was a movement afoot, several years ago, for volunteers to attempt to put chip down over the gravel roads at YSI. It would have been a totally volunteer effort. The City nixed it.

If we are going to be putting in field or indoor facilities then we need to put in first rate ones so that we can secure for ourselves some of the money that flows into Topeka and Johnson County for out-of-town teams travelling for tournaments. Let's not repeat the mistake that was made with the George Williams Way street where, a mere months after it was installed, we're being advised that it needs to be torn up and improved because it wasn't done right to begin with.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 4 months ago

YSI is a fine complex that could use some attention. Parents enjoy having the space for soccer. How can the city help YSI expand or improve? It is packed more often than not. The land is there why not ask the city to construct a rec center with two basketball/volleyball courts. Soccer is an outdoor sport and the fields are available? Ball diamonds are available? Concession stand in place. Maybe private investors would consider improving YSI? YSI has has not maximized its' potential.

While we are discussing sports why not bring on bicycle racing for children and adults. Bicycling is healthy.

Maybe KDOT should construct an overpass at that intersection and make it safe because YSI is a valuable asset to the community.

pelliott 11 years, 4 months ago people are so anti-sports and anti-children. What I cannot understand is why? Were you not allowed to participate in sports? I can feel the envy just pouring out in the posts.

I am not anti-children nor envious, if anything I feel pity for those kids that are subjected to todays degraded sports culture. It really has turned into a slick packaged travesty. kids do get permanently hurt for life by overly agressive win, win, thats what it is all about attitudes. I played softball and my little baby sister beat me and a lot of bigger kids out of position on the team because she was a tiger and loved it but we got to play. Our coach cared that we were out there with the emphisis on the word play. I went to some soccer matches in Lawrence, saw ugliness and was told to ignore "those parents, that coach' I should of called the police, really creepy. I also saw some great coaches and fine parents. If they want my tax money for support they need to quit ignoring the "bad ones' and insist on good sportsmanship and healthy play. Until I see changes, i vote no. Fields, we could use, in parks that can schedules games and practices. I think America has lost its mind on sports. The shadow of sportsmanship in America today is shaped like a dollar bill.

Stephen Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago


The tax break is a credit of 1,000 per qualifying child with phasing of the credit ot start at:

married filing joint 110,00 Adjusted gross income

single, head of household or qualifying widower $75,000 AGI

married filing jointly $55,000

Please see IRS Publication 972 for more details.

Bud Stagg 11 years, 4 months ago

Luxor, do you use every road? or do you just pay for the ones you drive on? Do you pay taxes for Schools or just the taxes for the children you sent through. This is about Society, We contribute our taxes and time to better our community. That means educating our young citizens to be smarter, more capable human beings.

Sports teach us to work together, to communicate, to play fair, and yes to win. I own businesses and I try to hire people who work and live to win at what they do, not people who can't work together, or communicate or are out for their own good. I want team players in my world.

Now back to my message, YSI soccer and football fields are a joke, they are quite frankly dangerous. The people who work at YSI are great, they however have limited budgets and facilities. Every soccer field needs to be replanted and a water system needs to be put in. We need to put in another 4-8 ball diamonds and we need a district football/soccer stadium with artificial turf.

Again, we have the highest property values in the state, high property taxes and as has been mentioned, a maxed sales tax.

WHY DON'T WE HAVE THE MONEY FOR THIS STUFF! We should put in more homeless shelters and programs for people who drain our society, not help it. This is part of the reason we have no money for the young, who are the future of our society.

Stephen Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago

is it possible too increase the property tax on personal property, land and building used by a bsuiness?

I am curious, does anyone know?

Stephen Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago

Kind of the subject. has anyone been to Power Play in Lenexa.

It is a large arcade game complex with lazer tag, miniture golf (9 neon holes) go cart racing and few other rides.

I have been told it is a real blast. Too bad we don't have something like that in lawrence.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 4 months ago

Soccer,basketball and football can create some serious knee problems. Ask Joe Namath.

Would parents be interested in year round swimming competition activity at OUR aquatic center? That is considered a low impact healthy sports activity. Both high schools have great pools. User fees could likely fund this activity.

Rec Centers were constructed as was the aquatic center to provide to more activities for our youth.

When I was at the elementary level public school we had several after school football teams. It was NOT tackle it was tails, fun and on school grounds. Whatever happened to that concept?

mistygreen 11 years, 4 months ago

pelliott wrote: "Our coach cared that we were out there with the emphisis on the word play. I went to some soccer matches in Lawrence, saw ugliness and was told to ignore "those parents, that coach' I should of called the police, really creepy. "

If it was so bad, why didn't you?

Leprechaunking13 11 years, 4 months ago

YSI pays for the maintenence of those fields just so you know COMMUTER, not kvsa

Smakm95 11 years, 4 months ago

I'm a firm believer in investing in our youth with the hope of giving them an opportunity to follow their dreams. We all have come across potholes in our lives that have caused, in some cases, damage beyond repair. In those instances how many of us have wished we had someone cover that pothole for us?

To me, sports are invaluable in the fight to protect our children while at the same time create opportunities to teach them some of lifes most important lessons. Self repect,accountability,hard work,fair play and teamwork. All of which are important to the development of healthy and successful young men and women.

As a city, what's our priority? Investing in our youth's future or the potholes in the street? To me it's easy. I'll take my chances with the potholes in the street, I can drive around them. If I have an opportunity to cover up a pothole in a childs life I say no price is too much.

Leprechaunking13 11 years, 4 months ago

What most of you fail to realize is that the city has put many things on back burners, look at the downtown for one it had needed to be re-done for YEARS and FINALLY it got done. This is one of them, they tried to fix the problem in '88 building Holcom but that only set the problem off to the side not actually fixing it. Now 20 years later when it's a full blown problem that should have been fixed atleast 10 years ago, you people are saying to put it off to the side for another what 10, 15, 20 years? So that our youth have to grow up and not know yothe pride of having a field that they can be proud to claim as their own, to fight for THEIR homefield proudly? Not apoligize for the field not being up to par. This isn't the competitive Lawrence I know who loves their sports and the athletes that play them. Putting stuff such as the Library or the streets ahead of this is just wrong. The streets are in constant repair, so there is no putting them off, I don't know why any of you think that the city would just stop fixing potholes and repaving streets, do any of you against this actually have concerns or feelings for anything other than what matters with you? I hope so for the sake of the youth in this CITY.

Stephen Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago

I am saying there are two groups that have had the power to something about the problem- the school board and the city commission.

The school board has had their hands full in trying to prioritize funding issues and then paying for other things. They are having to deal with overcrowding at Hillcrest and other problems will the buildings. They are the ones to authorize a vote on a sports complex to be used by the schools. Topeka school district did and it eventually passed.

The city commission needs to deal with the youth sports for ball fields etc.

I personally would like to see more room for volleyball and gymnastics. There really isn't anything here for those groups unless you go the Lawrence Gymnastics Academy. Sure you could pay a private company.

Stephen Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago

Does anyone know when and why the USTA stopped having a men's satellite IV tennis tournament in Lawrence. It was played at KU and it was great fun to play in the tournament. It was my first experience to come and visit Lawrence while I was playing in the tournament.

Bud Stagg 11 years, 4 months ago

Hey Leprechaun, KVSA does pay for those fields, they pay YSI. YSI is a group of 4 user groups. KVSA, Parks and rec, DCABA, and Lawrence Youth Football. There is a board of directors that set policy at YSI. Each group pays their share of the usage. YSI uses the city parks and rec dept to do maintenance.

We need outdoor and indoor facilities. I say the next company that wants to come to lawrence and wants a big tax break, Give them one. Just make them donate to the PLAY fund so we can put artificial turf in our new football/soccer complex. This is what many communities are doing, they are getting companies to donate the money and they get to put their name on the field. I'm sure if we build a stadium, someone like Dillons, Target, Walmart (hint, hint) would love to donate the money to be a hero in the community.

As someone else mentioned, why we waste tax dollars on fighting a losing battle with Walmart, we could be using those dollars to build something useful.

Leprechaunking13 11 years, 4 months ago

So if P & R are already in it, then why pay their own maintenence crews to do the maintenence?

Leprechaunking13 11 years, 4 months ago

Commuter there is also a gymnastics room at ELC, Gymnastics isn't that big here yet and if kids are in than they have LGA until they get to high school. We need to focus on having the sports that are in trouble with facilities and fields fixed up first before working on activities that don't have any problems yet. With the Volleyball another indoor facility takes away the need for any of those courts because it frees up court space at the other rec centers, not to mention that if/when built there will be multiple basketball courts that the volleyball problem is eliminated, besides Volleyball isn't a huge sport in this city until JR. high

Leprechaunking13 11 years, 4 months ago

Also Joehawk do you think that KVSA is putting up the core of that money, or that DCABA is? NO WAY! Youth Football is the big money maker for those fields, why do you think the football fields are better than the soccer fields most of the time? Truth is Youth Football puts up more money so more focus is put on those fields by the maintenence crew.

SoundMind 11 years, 4 months ago

Merrill - you've mentioned swimming and football.

I have two girls who, despite years of swimming lessons, don't like to swim very much. I don't wish to force them to do something they don't like to do - and they obviously can't play football. So what's left for them, athletically speaking, in your eyes?

Stephen Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago

SounMind. Please look at Leprechaunking13 posted at 3:42 p.m.

lep. clearly addresses this issue from his/her point of view.

Stephen Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago

Leprechaunking13 could the football fields being used only during the fall compared to the soccer fields being used during both the spring and fall have anything to do with the condition of the soccer fields?

Stephen Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago


Since Youth Football generates so much money, why don't they just but their own fields?

I know equipment is expensive. Maybe you guys could charge everyone a dollar to watch the kids play. That could really help generate a lot of cash.

pelliott 11 years, 4 months ago

mysty wrote If it was so bad, why didn't you?

Gosh this is typical. So suddenly there is only a problem because I didn't call the police on strangers? You've never seen crap behavoir, my guess from that attitude you screamed and cussed a few time. yourself. Nasty is pretty habitual with some people. I would make the call now, cell phones make a difference., I was a guest at the game of a man that was such a good guy and involved in soccer that I bet everyone he touched was better for it. Of all the remarks I made your argument back is to say, "why didn't you call". I vote no until I think the current way sports are sold is repackaged. I do mind driving around potholes so kids can pile out of suvs in shiney uniforms and play on professionally kept grounds. I would vote yes on enlarging the parks and school yards for practice sites.

mistygreen 11 years, 4 months ago

No pelliott, you are wrong. I have seen crap behavior and I am one that does not stand for it. I will call someone on bad behavior, maybe not the police, but I am NOT one to just stand by. Sorry to hear that you are the type to just stand by and let things happen.

pelliott 11 years, 4 months ago

M, sorry you heard that too. That is a funny remark. We laughed out loud at breakfast. I do think it is time to look at our parks and school yards and bring them up to better serve kids, be it practices or play. I like the frisbee golf course. I like the accessible playground at Hill Crest. More of that across the City. Hobbs Park could really be something. The City should look at building another practice field east of the ball diamond. I don't think they own the empty lots now. The adults players leave Hobbs Park filthy with litter, especially beer cans almost everytime they play. One team was cleaning up as I drove by, I stopped and said thank you. Access across Deleware is hazardous, the trucks barrel through. I would love to see a cop sit there . There should be very well designated cross walks so the neighbhood families could cross that street. Heck I would like a light at 11 and Deleware. That corner is going through an explosion of traffic between the new development both North and South of it.

Rafael Sanchez 11 years, 4 months ago

Hobbs Park is great park, and i think it would be real nice for the kids in lawrence to play on. I coach little league baseball and i know that my players have asked me before why we dont play there. I think it would be a great atmosphere to have the family and friends watch them play in the old concrete grandstand.

Rick Werner 11 years, 4 months ago

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