I can see both the opportunity and frustration associated with the announcement by the City of Hillsboro and the Hillsboro Hops to build a new ballpark on top of three heavily used recreation ball fields. While I am a supporter of the Hops, I am an even more ardent supporter of youth sports.
That is why I am becoming increasingly frustrated with this issue. As described in this article (https://www.
I have to say this is a bad idea. The location, while conveniently located along Cornelius Pass Road a few miles south of US26, has horrible and limited parking, and the proximity to neighborhoods makes it a bad fit.
Instead, HSD should advocate for the installation of turf ballfields — baseball and softball — at each of the high schools. The schools are already zoned for this type of activity, each has plenty of parking, AND it affords the high school teams quality facilities…which they desperately need. This year, we are sitting at the 5th rainiest April on record…on the heels of the rainiest April in 2022. Why not use this opportunity to invest in our high school programs…both boys and girls?
I am the father of a high school softball player (Liberty HS). Between 2022 and 2023, my daughter’s team played a total of 4(!) home games on its field. Four! Mother Nature willing, they will get a few more games in. Each season they should be hosting 10-12. My guess is Century and HilHi are in similar boats. The outlier is Glencoe, with its softball turf field. As a result, Glencoe is presented a competitive advantage by being able to play EVERY home game at home, and they have a dedicated training facility adjacent to the field. Why shouldn’t the other programs get the same opportunity? Instead, Liberty, Century, and HilHi teams must share indoor training space, scramble to find a replacement field when it rains, AND the players lose the pride of playing on their home field. All of this creates stress and a competitive disadvantage.
I want to acknowledge HSD’s improvements to the Liberty and Century softball facilities over the past year (new bullpens, new siding on the dugouts, foul ball poles, etc). Still, I strongly encourage the HSD to pursue and advocate for significant investments in the high school ballfields, creating year-round and long-term opportunities, rather than accepting an alternative that will generate future headaches and perpetuate existing problems.
These improved fields can then be used to support the local, regional, and national tournaments that rely on the Gordon Faber facilities. Rental fees from these tournaments can then be used for maintenance.
If possible, the youth tournament directors, players and coaches, and HSD parents should be consulted to ensure any future developments are sound and supportable.
Thank you, Matt. Great analysis and ideas! Please keep them coming in.
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