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Colorado parents call for more sports fields in Douglas County ahead of fairgrounds town hall

Douglas County parents, coaches worried about having possibly fewer youth sports fields
Douglas County parents, coaches worried about having possibly fewer youth sports fields 02:16

As Douglas County grows, parents of young athletes say their kids need more fields to play on. They're worried potential renovations at the Douglas County Fairgrounds could make the problem worse.

"When it comes to practices and games, we are looking at an extreme shortage of fields," said Brad Wright, a Parker father and volunteer youth league coach for his daughter's softball team and his son's baseball team.

"He's hard on me, but it's fun," said Wright's son, Austin.


Austin and his 11-year-old teammates have noticed the impact of limited fields.

"Sometimes when you have practice, other teams will come and have to share the field with you because they have the same time as you," said Austin.

Wright says his team travels long distances to play, and deals with frequent cancellations.

"You're going to have fields that open up or are cancelled, so you're going to have to scramble to find another. Practices are cancelled to make room for games. Games are always going to be a priority," said Wright.


Colorado's weather is responsible for many cancellations. Wright says when there are so few fields, and many are natural grass, it exacerbates the problem.

The shortage also limits the number of kids who can take part.

"We're currently turning kids away from something that's getting them out of the house, getting them off their electronics. If you had the availability of other fields, that would really give kids more options," said Wright.

Douglas County is considering renovating the fairgrounds to expand space for the county fair. One possibility being looked at is moving the rodeo arena to area now occupied by the fairgrounds ballfields, effectively getting rid of the fields.

Concern about losing the three lit fields has local youth sports leagues urging parents to reach out to county commissioners and advocate against that option.

"Writing a letter, crafting a letter now," said Wright.

Commissioner Lora Thomas says if they decide to move the arena, they will build fields elsewhere. She's suggesting building some on Wildcat Reserve Regional Park in Highlands Ranch.

Thomas says funds from a sales tax extended by voters two years ago, and earmarked for parks, could be used to build fields.

"I think we're wanting more space for families to enjoy what a lot of us have moved here for, which is the outside," said Wright.


Wright would like to see new fields put in that are multi-use, have lights, and are astroturf.

Wright says youth leagues are also challenged by a lack of volunteers and increased costs. Wright says fees associated with playing went up 25-30% in the last year.

"Less fields, less resources, more kids that want to play, prices going up, it's all kind of gravitating towards a bad scenario for kids, and really, kids that want to play, they should be able to play," said Wright.

There will be a live town hall discussing the future of the fairgrounds Thursday, May 16, at 6 p.m. Commissioner Thomas says a consultant will present their masterplan outlining different options. Many youth sports parents say they plan to attend and make their voices heard.

Here's how to join the Town Hall:

  • In person at 100 Third St. in Castle Rock
  • Online at
  • Via phone by calling 833-380-0668, or answer the phone when the county calls just before 6 p.m. To sign up to get a call, visit
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