Cosmo Park Charges For Field Use
It's been a mild winter, but there's not much action on Cosmo Park's nineteen groomed fields. Kids can skateboard on concrete, but for many local soccer players the field status at Cosmo Park might as well be closed.
Recreational leagues and competitive clubs pay fees to use the field, ranging anywhere from $16.50 for a game to as much as $132 for a whole day. Luke Dixson learned the hard way that no one else can play unless they pay.
"We were playing soccer and the park ranger asked us if we could please leave. She didn't want us there. So we left, but I kind of felt it wasn't right, because the way I look at it: My mom pays taxes and I think the taxes paid for this," Dixson said.
One park ranger said it's all about priorities.
"The fields are maintained for our youth organizations and when we get bigger groups that want to have practices or pick-up games, it ends up ruining the turf for the youth that pay for the soccer fields here in Columbia," said City Park Manager Rosanna Arens.
One solution may be to build more fields.
"Of course people would have to realize that a field like that would not be in the best of condition because of all the use, but it would certainly be in a condition to handle a lot of these pick-up games," said Park Services Manager Mike Griggs.
Parks and Recreation officials said they are looking at plans to improve soccer fields, but for now there are 32 other locations in Columbia for free pick up games. However, many do not have goals in place.