I'll be the first to admit that I don't know the mechanics of funding new sports fields, but from a sports fan's outside view, something appears wrong.
Moffat County received notification that Great Outdoors Colorado will award it a $200,000 grant to build two additional soccer fields, bathrooms and a parking lot at Loudy-Simpson Park.
Can I ask why?
In my opinion, it's not money well spent.
There currently are six - five full and two half-sized practice - fields in Craig.
I drove around and counted.
Three at Woodbury - the field running parallel to Third Avenue is sharp when done up for matches - 1 1/2 on the corner of First Street and Doyan Avenue, a practice field for youths at East Elementary School and the grand-daddy of them all, a sweet field with two sets of 10-row bleachers at Loudy-Simpson.
I commend those who signed the petitions and put in all the hard work during the two years it took to get the grant, but I believe those who want an indoor pool/recreation center outnumber the soccer fans in town.
The soccer program in Moffat County is in disarray.
The high school boys and girls teams haven't had a winning team as far back as I could find, and they don't even have complete coaching staffs as you read this.
But, MCHS produced two state champions in the pool this year, and the Sea Sharks are kicking butt across the Western Slope without worrying the slightest bit about taking names.
One of them already has qualified for the Junior Olympics.
Let's be real.
In Craig's climate, how long is a soccer field playable on?
Four or five months?
There is snow on it most of the year.
An indoor pool can be used all year-round.
Craig residents have one pool to utilize since the one at the high school had to be shut down because it was too expensive to operate year-round.
My solution is simple.
Build a new state-of-the-art recreation facility, kind of like the cool new digs that Meeker recently opened.
Build it at Loudy-Simpson, next to the existing soccer field.
Include stadium seating along the side of the building, adding capacity to the current bleachers.
Create a nice air-conditioned press box inside the building overlooking the field - complete with internet connection, flat-panel TV and leather seats so I can be comfortable.
Inside, construct a sweet 50-meter pool that can be split in half when swim-meets come to town - meets that are long overdue.
Hey, why not throw in a few basketball courts and a tennis court, too?
We don't have an indoor tennis court. It could double as a practice soccer field for the winter.
I understand more seating is needed at some of the existing fields, but have you been to a soccer game in Craig lately?
The handful of fans who attend look awfully comfortable in their lawn chairs.
I know the Craig residents who are part of Senior Swimnastics are in the pool five days a week, every week, as if their lives depended on it - and some do.
Well, not anymore considering their pool - at the American Legion - closed too.
I also know the Boys & Girls Club of Craig takes 20 youths to the pool three days a week while the Club's "Soccer Bill" - a volunteer soccer instructor - is struggling to keep interest in his program.
But, the most obvious evidence that proves the money awarded by the state to spend on "projects that enhance Colorado's parks and recreation options" is being spent in the wrong spot came when I drove through town counting the soccer fields.
Each field I observed was empty of kids.
Not one was seen at the six fields.
So, on the way back to write this, I stopped by the pool at Craig City Park.
It was packed.
John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or email@example.com