The Pueblo Chieftan

Parks and recs prepares for GoCo grant

The addition of lights and other features to the third ball field at Lovell Park in Pueblo West would have a huge impact for the hundreds of people who use the fields every week for a variety of sports and activities.

Pueblo West Parks and Recreation officials hope they will be approved for a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant later this year that would help fund the improvements that are much needed.

“We just don’t have enough places for people to play,” said Pueblo West Parks and Recreation Department Director Carol Cosby.

“It’s a shortage of facilities and so many people use them.”

Cosby is starting the prep work for the grant application — due at the end of August — this week.

Grants are awarded in December, and would require a 20-percent cash match from the Pueblo West Metropolitan District.

Pueblo West Metropolitan District Manager Jack Johnston mentioned the grant application during the June 25 meeting of the Pueblo West Metropolitan District Board of Directors, noting the grant request would likely be for approximately $160,000, though specifics haven’t yet been detailed.

“The good thing is it could save us six figures if we get approved,” Johnston said.

“But even if we don’t get the grant, it’s early enough (December) that we could still go and do the work ourselves and have the fields ready for spring.”

The plan is to install lights on the third field at Lovell Park, which is located closest to the Parks and Recreation Department office.

Though the field currently can be used during the day, adding lights would increase usage time for after-dark games.

Additionally, the field would be fenced and get dugouts to “finish the field,” as Cosby explained.

A green net fencing material would also be hung from pole to pole on the first field, to protect people using the pavilion at Lovell Park from being hit by balls hit from Field 1.

“This park is maxed out,” Cosby said.

“Going from two to three lighted fields would be huge.

“We have so many teams that practice and play on our fields.

“We can’t even get out much to maintain them because everybody uses them so much, there’s no time!”

Cosby said future plans include the hopeful expansion of two more multi-purpose fields.

The Parks and Recreation Department also is working with Pueblo School District 70 on a possible Intergovernmental Agreement to use some of the local school facilities for games and practices.

As Cosby noted, the number of residents involved in the Pueblo West Parks and Recreation Department programs greatly outnumbers the availability of fields and resources.

This summer for children’s t-ball, for example, Cosby said they had to cut off participants because there were simply too many.

There are 20 teams of 11-12 kids each, and then still a waiting list.

Baseball, soccer and adult softball all happen during the same season, as well, showing just how popular recreation is in Pueblo West.

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