JH Youth Soccer fights for new fields

(Jackson, Wyo.) - As the population grows in Jackson Hole, so does the need for housing, schools and even recreational fields. An increase in affordable housing has been on the minds of local officials for years, and the Teton County School District just voted to build a second new elementary school in addition to the one in Hog Island that is set to open in 2018. Now, Jackson Hole Youth Soccer (JHYS) is pushing for more fields to serve the growing demand for kids wanting to play soccer, lacrosse and rugby. Currently, according to JHYS Director Dan Norton, the available field space has been shrinking due to increased enrollment, the growing local Lacrosse Club and later practice times for school sports. The JHYS club has grown substantially in recent years with 330 athletes enrolled in 2012 and more than 450 today. "We have a strong staff of coaches and we have a strong desire of kids who want to play, but we have to turn people away every season," said Norton. "Field space is our biggest issue. We could easily grow even bigger." [image: Inline image 1] Norton's solution for this problem is to develop the land near the Stilson Lot where there is a preliminary plan in place for athletic fields, called the Stilson Master Plan. Norton says that the completion of this project would add 350,000 sq. ft. of field space and help solve many of the field issues the community is currently facing. The proposed plan has a budget of about $2 million to complete the fields. "They (the county) have had this land for decades and it has been slotted for athletic fields for decades," he said. "It just hasn't been a priority." In December, JHYS sent a letter the JHYS families urging them to lobby county officials to finish the Stilson Master Plan. JHYS is working to get the Stilson Master Plan on the SPET ballot so that the community can vote on it as soon as possible. "Everything is ready to go, it is just a matter of funding," said Norton. If the plan does get SPET funding, Norton said it would take about a year to 18 months to complete the fields. We asked Norton what supporters of the Stilson Master Plan could do to help. "Let the commissioners know the urgent need for this and that this is a really important thing for our entire community," said Norton. "As we think about needing more schools, housing and transportation, kids need somewhere to play, too." "These fields are important for adults, as well. We are an athletic community. Everyone needs somewhere to go play," he added. *Feature Photo: h/t Jackson Hole Youth Soccer / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news