Eric Fredrickson lives in Manitou Springs but his three sons play soccer, baseball and football in Colorado Springs’ youth programs. He is concerned that the fields where his sons practice and play are going to burn up this summer without adequate irrigation.
Here’s a reminder how Ford Frick Park looked in 2002 in a photo by Jerilee Bennett of The Gazette:
So Fredrickson is proposing an idea:
Fredrickson wants every parent and every child should carry an extra bottle of water to each practice and game and dump the water on the field before they leave.
City officials aren’t sure a water bottle brigade will solve the problem, but it couldn’t hurt. Parks are hurting because of Colorado Springs’ budget crisis, which is forcing officials to slash its summer watering schedule for city parks.
In a typical summer, the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department would pour 24 inches of water on the city’s 869 acres of irrigated turf, according to Kurt Schroeder, the manager of the agency’s maintenance program.
Due to shortfalls in tax revenue, Schroeder said he can only give a full ration of water, fertilizer, seed and weed spray to 234 acres. The rest will only get about 11 inches of water and none weed, seed or fertilizer. He’d need another $1 million to treat all turf the same. Consider all that Schroeder manages:
- 7 regional parks
- 8 community parks
- 136 neighborhood parks
- 5 sports complexes
- 105 miles of urban trails
- 160 miles of park trails
- 48 open space areas
- 2 public golf courses
- 2 public cemeteries
Add up those facilities and the total exceeds:
- 9,000 acres of parks
- 500 acres of trails
- 5,000 acres of open spaces
Already, philanthropists have stepped up to donate thousands to ensure the Julie Penrose Fountain in America the Beautiful Park will spray this summer. Here’s a photo from the city Web site.
Lyda Hill also guaranteed the Uncle Wilber fountain in Acacia Park will operate, as seen in a Gazette file photo.
Fredrickson was inspired to help sports fields in city parks with his water bottle brigade.
Here is a look at his sons in action. Below, 5-year-old Porter Fredrickson kicks high at the Gossage Youth Sports Complex.
Below, 10-year-old Atticus dribbles.
Here Darwin, 12, scores as the goalkeeper watches helplessly.