In the foothills, there are too many sports teams and not enough field space.
West Jeff Baseball is trying to level the playing field, so to speak, and it is asking the community for help. It wants to raise $3 million to create a field complex behind Wilmot Elementary School, hoping it will connect via trails to the fields at Evergreen High School.
The area would have enough space for two youth ball fields, or it could be converted into a field for soccer, lacrosse or football. The organization hopes to raise the money by next spring, so the fields can be constructed in the summer of 2024.
“We talk about this project in terms of baseball,” said Bill Jaeger, president of West Jeff Baseball, at a May 4 meeting to unveil the project, “but it’s an entry point to the intent of the project. If the space can be reimagined and revitalized, we hope it will be used by Wilmot and the community. Multiple user groups could use this.”
West Jeff Baseball envisions parking, stadium seating, batting cages, a concession stand and storage, a picnic shelter, restrooms, and sloped lawn seating. The organization is looking into whether it will be a grass or artificial turf field.
West Jeff Baseball is working with the Army Corps of Engineers because the land is in the flood plain.
Jeffco Public Schools, which owns the property is on board with the project, and Stephany Fritz, Wilmot’s principal, is excited by the prospect of having a grass field behind the school that students could play on. Now, students play on dirt, gravel or asphalt.
Jaeger said West Jeff Baseball continues to try to make the foothills more child and family focused, and adding fields will begin to alleviate the gridlock when it comes to get high school, middle school and sports organizations’ practices and games.
West Jeff Baseball, for example, has 350 players on 29 recreational and competitive teams. It wants more fields because they are concerned the lack of practice space and the less-than-ideal fields are sending families down the hill to give their children better experiences.
The organization believes that Wilmot Elementary is a prime location for more ball fields because it’s easily accessible from both Evergreen and Conifer, and with Wilmot’s playground nearby, families will have something to do during practices.
“Now is the time to better our community, and we are happy to lead the charge,” said Chris Lewis, a West Jeff Baseball board member.