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Park field place for holes, not soccer balls

Renovation done by next fall?
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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With sink holes, gopher holes and tree roots, Meadow Vista Park soccer field offers more of an opportunity for danger than fun. “We have had some issues out there,” said Kahl Muscott, Auburn Area Recreation and Parks District administrator. “Gopher holes are one of them, and the earth is … sunk.” The district is actively looking into an overhaul of the field, Muscott said. “We have had some geo-technical investigation (of the field),” he said. “It requires a major renovation. Our proposal at this point … was basically we will strip off the top eight inches, compact everything and refill it.” On a visit to the park Friday, the Journal noticed gopher holes, uneven ground and potentially fall-causing tree roots on and in the area of the soccer field. A study by the geo-technical company showed irregular soil profiles under the field’s grass, Muscott said. “There were some issues with the soil in general,” Muscott said. “There was some relatively loose and disturbed soil within the field.” Colfax resident Debra Thompson, who was visiting the park Friday, said it’s impossible to run on the field. “You have to run on the path, you can’t run on the grass, because there are so many potholes,” Thompson said. Meadow Vista resident Liz Ferris, who was also visiting the park, said she was concerned about Thompson when she watched her run on the grass in the past. “It was a little scary to watch her,” Ferris said. “I was worried about her safety a little bit.” Colfax resident Lee Shahin said he and his family visit the park frequently. Shahin said his son, Julian, 6, used to play soccer on the field a couple of years ago, but it is too dangerous now. “Just looking at it from here, you can see how it slopes down,” Shahin said. “And if you are ever running across it, you are lucky if you don’t twist your ankle.” Muscott said the district is also working with a landscape architecture firm on the project, and hopes the field renovation will be done in the near future, depending on finances. “We are hoping to be able to afford it now,” he said. “With anything there is always funding concerns. The plan is to have it open for late fall 2011, but as the wind changes we still need to make adjustments, but we are still moving forward.” The cost of the project was unavailable as of press time. Organized teams have not played on the field since 2008 because of its condition, Muscott said. Chris Asbury, a member of the governing board for the Auburn Youth Soccer Club and ARD board candidate in the upcoming election, said the club stopped using Meadow Vista Park soccer field after the 2007 season, because the ground was “unusable due to the uneven playing field.” Scott Holbrook, ARD board member who is running for re-election, said the district isn’t forcing soccer teams not to play on the field, but they have chosen not to. “It’s gotten to the point where you cannot have organized sports on there,” Holbrook said. “A lot of kids could use that if it was usable.” Muscott said community fundraisers and donations for the project would be appreciated, including 400 yards of cubic topsoil that would go on top of the dirt fill. “One of the things we are going to need is good topsoil,” he said. “We are absolutely happy to work with people on anything like that.” Anyone interested in sponsoring or donating for the project can call Muscott at (530) 885-0611, ext. 102. The district is also considering fundraising opportunities and currently has a calendar available for purchase to support ARD play equipment. Ferris said she isn’t sure if the community would donate for the overhaul of Meadow Vista Park field, mentioning how long the completion of the pool and community center are taking due to lack of funds. “Looking at the other projects we have in this community, people don’t really seem to throw down money,” Ferris said. “But who knows? This could be the one people want to save.” Shahin said he is looking forward to the field renovation. “It would be nice if it actually was leveled out,” he said. “It really is a beautiful park. It would be nice to have an equally nice field.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com ----------------------------------------------------- Regional Park field The field at Regional Park gets “considerable use” by many different teams including the Junior Hillmen football team, said Kahl Muscott, Auburn Area Recreation and Parks District administrator, but it is in a sorry state. “The field at Regional Park needs a pretty serious upgrade,” Muscott said. “Honestly, the best thing to happen at that field would be to put in an artificial turf.” Muscott said an artificial field could cost upward of $750,000, and the district can’t afford to pay for it. Because of this cost, nothing immediate is scheduled in terms of overhauling the field, Muscott said. Muscott said eventually the district might have to enforce more temporary closures of athletic fields in its parks to slow down wear and tear.