When Franklin County High School administration moved the undefeated football team’s second-round playoff matchup against Louisville Central — a game in which the Flyers had earned home field advantage — to Falling Springs Park in Versailles last week for the safety of the players due to the deteriorating field conditions at Benny Watkins Field, it once again shone a bright stadium light on the fact that many local sports fields are below standard.
While we agree the decision was made in the best interest of the student-athletes, we can’t help but be a bit embarrassed by the condition of our youth athletic fields.
In fact, this is the second time in as many months that Frankfort has been called out for inadequate sports facilities. In mid-October, several area high school who that traveled to the capital city for the 11th Region Boys Soccer Tournament vocally announced their displeasure with the bleachers, restroom and condition of Sower Field at Capitol View Park on social media.
A freelance photographer who covered the tournament, Matt Goins, called Sower Soccer Field the “worst venue possible. Terrible pitch. Terrible lights. Regional tournaments and players deserve much better.”
Sure, these are just two recent examples, but they illustrate the urgency of a bigger need for safe and even playing fields for Frankfort youth. But with funding an issue, no single entity will be able to solely finance the project.
We believe the city and county governments, Franklin County Schools and Frankfort Independent Schools should collaborate to address the inadequate field conditions for all our outdoor sports teams — not just football and soccer. Kentucky State University could be another valuable partner in the collaboration. By pooling their resources, they could get more done together than they could alone. After all, there is no “i” in team.
We need leaders who are willing to tackle this problem head-on and soon. It is an investment in both the community and our children's future.