Archive for Wednesday, October 24, 2007

TRC field rendered unplayable by game

October 24, 2007

An afternoon touch football game at rain-drenched Chieftain Park last week left the west end of the main soccer field in shambles and forced a Tonganoxie High School playoff game to be moved.

Tonganoxie Recreation Commission director Gayle Parker assessed the damage Thursday morning. He said that, according to surveillance video, youths played for more than two hours as rain fell Wednesday afternoon. Surveillance indicated the game started about 3:30 p.m.

A Tonganoxie High School playoff game against Eudora was supposed to be played there Monday, but field conditions forced the game to be moved elsewhere.

The Class 4A playoff game was moved to Eudora. Tonganoxie lost, 4-3, and was eliminated from the playoffs.

On Tuesday, Parker said he thought repair would cost between $1,000 and $2,000, including reseeding and labor. Large divots also must be taken care of before reseeding begins.

Parker said he estimated that roughly 10 people were playing touch football near the west goal, using the penalty box as an out-of-bounds line, as well as the sideline and baseline behind the goal. The identities of the people, whom Parker thought were high school-aged based on the security tape, are unknown. Parker first learned of the damage Wednesday when the mother of a Tonganoxie High School soccer player drove by. The parent was unable to stop at the field because of a prior commitment.

There is no signage currently at the field requesting that the field not be used, Parker said. He said there was no criminal intent through the play and that it was not considered vandalism.

And, he added that he did want residents to utilize the fields -- but that they also should utilize good judgment.

"It's unfortunate that the kids got on it, but we realize that kids are kids and they didn't realize what they were doing," Parker said. "We want people to use our facilities, but I guess we just want them to use common sense.

"Just like softball and baseball fields. If there's water all over it, we don't' want people to use it."

TRC maintenance director Russ Kimberlin said he found substance from a fire extinguisher discharged in the women's bathroom at the park, as well as on the sidewalk near the soccer field. A fire extinguisher also had been discharged Oct. 11 in the bathroom.

Parker said the fire extinguisher issues weren't thought to be related to the football game.

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