Officials encourage fans to follow parking rules
Parking has become a problem at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds.
Availability of parking isn't the issue. Instead, it's where some people are parking for soccer games that has been a headache for the Tonganoxie Recreation Commission and the Leavenworth County Fair Board.
"We spent quite a bit of money on a couple signs and people still aren't getting the message," TRC director Mark Zerrer said.
When organizations have activities at the fairgrounds, the main entrance is left open. Some people attending soccer games use the fairgrounds entrance instead of the ball field entrance, which is farther west. Because people at the fairgrounds sometimes aren't aware of cars parked at the fields, people have gotten locked in before. In other instances, the gates have been left open because it was thought that those attending soccer would lock up. The last person out is supposed to lock the gate.
Fair board president David Todd said having more traffic coming through the grounds also brings more safety concerns. And when the gates are left open, vandalism is more likely.
"A lot of people have a misconception that it belongs to the rec commission and it doesn't," Todd said. "It belongs to the fair board."
The two groups have had a good relationship, Todd said. TRC has used a great deal of fairground land for $3 per year.
And when the fair board needs parking, especially during the county fair, the recreation commission opens up space for parking.
"It works great for them and it works great for us," Todd said.
The soccer fields lie north of the fairgrounds and east of the existing baseball fields. The soccer season runs from August until late October and from March until the middle of May.
Land is open just north of the rodeo grandstands for soccer parking, as is the baseball field parking lot northwest of the fields, which Zerrer said recently received new rock. Plans include a parking lot north of the soccer field where some trees and a low-lying area now exists.
Until then, Todd hopes fans will park in designated places.
"It's all about safety," Todd said. "We're not trying to be mean to anybody. We're trying to look out for everybody."