Fairgrounds ball fields in good shape despite ARD cuts

Gold Country Fairgrounds continues to maintain fields after ARD ended lease
By: Justin A. Lawson Journal Staff Writer
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When Auburn Recreation District underwent budget cuts earlier this year the sports fields at the Gold Country Fairgrounds were at the heart of matter. The three baseball fields and adjoining grass were utilized by the Placer High junior varsity baseball team for games and practices, Auburn Little League used them for practice as did the Placer Jr. Hillmen football teams. A loss of the fields could have sent those organizations in a scramble to find a new home. Instead the fairgrounds, despite a loss in their state funding, stepped in to maintain the fields. ?It?s tough but we?re doing what we can do,? said Laurie Johnson, chief executive officer of Gold Country Fairgrounds. The fairgrounds had leased the fields to ARD for $1 a year and split the cost of irrigation water ? a cost of about $5,000 year. ARD maintained the fields until it was forced to slash its budget after its revenue decreased by nearly 30 percent over the last five years. The Fairgrounds lost its state funding of $200,000 a year in 2011. The biggest change at the fields had been the lawn. The grass had grown well beyond the liking of the Placer JV baseball team. ?We did see a little lapse in the mowing but nothing too significant,? said Tony Madrigal, Placer JV assistant baseball coach. ?We maintained the infield grass and they mowed the outfield grass. They did OK, but it is what it is with budgets and all that stuff. But we appreciate any help that they could give us right now.? The fairgrounds believe the issue has been cleared up after it purchased a new lawnmower last week to help maintain the fields. ?It?s OK because you have to do what you have to do and we can use it on the other lawns,? Johnson said. ?We have a smaller one too that we can use on ours too so we?re just making it work.?