Summit County softball season saved |

Summit County softball season saved

SUMMIT COUNTY – The 2003 Summit County Softball season has been saved.

With drought threatening the county’s ability to maintain the fields at Blue River Park, community leaders came together in March to work out an emergency solution.

The county pulls from the Blue River to water the Silverthorne fields, which support more than 100 teams for more than three months every summer. When the river is low, like it was last year and figures to be for most of this summer, the pumping system becomes ineffective.

“The system is not adequate in its present state to water the fields,” said county manager Ron Holliday. “It’s needed improvements for years, and with these lower flows, it just exacerbated the situation.”

Holliday facilitated two meetings last month that involved the towns of Silverthorne, Dillon and Frisco, the county, the Summit Softball League, the Lake Dillon Optimist Club and the High Country Soccer Association, which uses the fields after softball season ends in the fall.

Perhaps it was the tight timing of the situation, but by all accounts, the cooperation between the entities was exemplary. They were able to agree on a plan of action, a timetable and funding.

The work is currently being done. The existing water pumps have been removed and will be evaluated either for repair or replacement.

“We all looked at each other and said “we have to go on trust here,'” Holliday said. “We don’t have an iron-clad agreement other than a hand shake and our word, and everyone said “that’s good enough for us,’ and away we went.”

The quick action was a relief for Summit County Softball League president Mark Pierson.

“After that first meeting (March 20), I thought the chances of us playing ball in June and July were pretty much nil,” he said. “By the second meeting (March 27), everyone came up with some ideas and said “we’re gonna make this work.'”

The county and towns also got a jump on discussions about a new lease for the property, which is owned by Denver Water. The current lease is between the county and Denver Water and expires this fall. The hope is that the towns will get involved in negotiations for the new lease.

“We’re looking forward to a long-term solution with the lease,” Pierson said. “The ultimate goal is to have an inter-governmental agreement between the towns and the county so not one organization gets stuck holding the bill.”

Summit County Softball upped it’s dues this season for the first time in about 15 years. Team fees are $575 and are due by the April 28 managers’ meeting at Lakeside Bowl in Dillon. Intent to Field a Team forms are due April 15. There is also a $20 player fee for each team member. Other dates to remember are June 21-22 – the 22nd annual Mountain Invitational Tournament, and July 19-20 – the 29th annual Spider Stevens Memorial Tournament. League play is set to begin May 19.

Contact the Summit County Softball League at (970) 468-8527 for more information.

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