The Next Big Land Use Debate Is About Rectangular Fields

13 Feb

Land use policy has long been a subject for debate in the western United States and the wild spaces of America. Conservationists on one side and recreational users have been on the other.

But is the next big debate on land use face off the general community versus clubs and organizations?

In Forsyth County, Georgia where I live and play the major soccer club, United Futbol Academy holds a lease on the soccer fields at several of the county’s parks.

It seems these leases are 24 hours a day and entitle them to kick other users off the field.

Now, grass is a limited resource in our county – with a perennial drought in Atlanta and heavy use of the fields just by the club, the grass quickly wears out. Some of the county football fields are only used one out of every two years for this reason.

But every major park in our county also has an immaculate, 120 yard Fieldturf artificial surface. This surface is expected to have a 15 year lifespan. (All five high schools also have this same playing surface.)

But the lease still gives the same stipulation it seems – so where are casual users bound to? It’s out of existence.

I’m not sure there’s a good compromise here – but my pick-up soccer group would be happy to lease a field for a couple of hours if the option were available. We’d also be happy to schedule around the club’s use – but that also hasn’t been made available.

What’s the situation elsewhere in the United States? Are sports fields available to casual users?

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One Response to “The Next Big Land Use Debate Is About Rectangular Fields”

  1. Matt February 13, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Here in Ohio, it can also be tough.

    The fields that were outside of the last place I worked would normally be filled with people from the office buildings coming out at lunch or after work…until somebody from the city told them a permit was required to use the field and actually brought police along to “warn” them off. Naturally, the permit was pretty costly and as there was no organized group to raise funds, the fields sat unused as far as we could tell.

    My particular suburb is pretty good, only locking down the ice rink and high school grounds…with others being open…but my suburb is the exception to the rule in the region.

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