Windsor Premier: Windsor youth sports need more field space, town officials say
July 7, 2017
Record summer turnout for Windsor youth sports has spurred conversation about creating more field space in Diamond Valley.
According to Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture Eric Lucas, Windsor youth soccer enrollment has nearly doubled compared to last summer. Lucas said there were 733 participants this spring season compared to 465 in spring 2016.
Lucas said the town was proactive in addressing issues of field space and staffing coaches, but Windsor growth necessitates a reassessment of allocated land.
"Eastman Park is beyond capacity." Lucas said. "We are looking to build new fields to accommodate the popularity of our programs."
According to Lucas, town staff is working with a consultant to draft a plan to add field space. He said they plan to develop a portion of the 89 undeveloped acres in Diamond Valley to contend with issues of field capacity.
Lucas said the plan will be presented to Windsor Town Board when the budget is being finalized.
Recreation Coordinator Craig Ellingson said he attributes the rise in popularity to the addition of the 4-year-old soccer program "Little Wizards" this season — which accounted for 80 kids alone.
Ellingson said the fall season generally has less turn out, but they expect numbers to continue to rise this year.
Despite growing numbers, Ellingson said all games will still be held at Eastman Park to make game day more convenient for parents.
Ellingson said the biggest issue this season was finding coaches, but the community was accommodating to the growing need for volunteers. They were able to staff coaches before the start of the season, which he said is unusual.
"We've got a good community that is willing to support us, and we could not do it without the parent support we have," Ellingson said.
Lucas said enrollment is up in all youth sports programming, and soccer saw the largest jump. He said the growth of Windsor, and the recreation center expansion are major factors for the rise in numbers.
A 400,000 square-foot expansion to the Windsor Recreation Center opened fall 2016. Lucas said the expansion increased traffic, which led to further exposure for youth sports programs. He said the recreation center averages 35,000 visitors a month.
"There are lots of reasons for the jump in numbers," Lucas said. "I would attribute part of growing popularity to the growth of Windsor, but also the success of our programming. When you continue to do good programs year after year that draws folks."