Citizens in Basalt shoot for sports complex | AspenTimes.com
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Citizens in Basalt shoot for sports complex

A citizens’ group has launched an effort to raise $1.4 million to add first-rate sports facilities that they say are overdue at Basalt High School.

A nonprofit organization called Fields of Dreams envisions a three-year project that will add track and field facilities; a football field; a locker room, concession stand and bleachers; basketball and tennis courts; a dedicated softball field and completion of a baseball diamond.

Civic-minded folks have already rallied to provide a soccer field in the sports complex, which is located east of the high school.

“It’s important that these kids have this facility,” said Jo Gawrys, co-chairman of the committee along with Leslie Gawrys. “Academics and athletics go hand in hand.”

The Roaring Fork School District didn’t have the money to build the sports facilities when the high school was built in the mid-1990s. Sports teams that practice outdoors typically take a bus or meet over at the middle school to use the facilities there.

The lack of facilities for practice and competition at the new high school is an inconvenience and a matter of community pride, said Gawrys. Concerned parents decided they needed to try to raise the funds for the sports complex rather than wait for budget allocations from the school district.

“We get no funds for athletics. There’s just no money,” she said.

The group is also sensitive that individuals and businesses in the Roaring Fork Valley may be feeling overwhelmed with constant requests to contribute to worthy causes. Therefore the organization is looking for a boost from foundations and national corporations.

“Mainly we’re going after corporate funding,” said Gawrys. “We really don’t want to tap the community for 1.4 million dollars.”

The school district’s board of education has reserved the right to review any signs, billboards or other forms of recognition that may be traded to large donors. In fact, some board members are pushing for the right to review contributing corporations before their money is accepted.

Fields of Dreams is hoping to collect enough money and in-kind work to complete the football field by September 2002.

Phase two would feature a state-of-the-art running track and facilities for the shot put, discus and high jump.

The softball field and courts for tennis and basketball would likely be completed last. However, the whole schedule could get thrown out of whack based on the success or failure of the fund-raising.

“It’s hard to put a time on it when you’re starting with $500 in the kitty,” said Gawrys.

The first major effort to raise that kitty will be Monday, April 16, with a benefit at the Roaring Fork Club clubhouse. The event is being called “An Evening of Dreams.”

There will be a wine tasting featuring grog from four regions of the world, casino-style gambling, a silent auction and music. The fund-raiser will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $100 and will be sold at locations yet to be announced.

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