Greeley Daily Tribune from Greeley, Colorado on March 9, 1976 · Page 17
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Greeley Daily Tribune from Greeley, Colorado · Page 17

Greeley, Colorado
Issue Date:
Tuesday, March 9, 1976
Page 17
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Tues., March t, 1176 GREELEY (Colo.) TRIBUNE 17 City Parks and Recreation staff seeks to serve Greeley By RANDY BANGERT Tribune SurtWrHer 'To provide quality year- round recreational programi, both physical and oulunl, for dtiwiis of ill ages Including special populition needs." "To continuously pursue necessary functional facilities in every and all ways possible to provide program space." "To continuouily punue the needt of the cititenry and involve their ideai and intertill in planning and development of new programming." After 23 years, that is still the general philosophy of the Greeley Parks and Recreation Department. Called the Greeley Community Activities Department in 1953, it started with a budget of 15,000. In 1876 the budget is (408,756, covering activities which range from upkeep of city parks to slow-pitch Softball to ballet and yoga classes. Dr. Lyle Beaver was the first program director and started the Greeley activities program in 1953. The department's name at that time was the Greeley C o m m u n i t y A c t i v i t i e s Department, while basic activities included sports programs, adult education classes and recreational- cultural classes. Dr. Max Shirley served as an interim director after Beaver, and the Senior Citizens Program was started under his reign. It was under Fred Werner, who took over tht deptruntnt' in the fall of 1963, that the department wai expanded considerably and took on today's structure. The department wai only a four-month operation in 1963 (from September through December) and relied heavily on volunteers. "The city gave us about 17,500, which paid for the supervisors, and we raised ·4,3*5 in those four months from fees for the classes and programs," Werner said. "The school district furnished facilities and the college provided students to help with the classes." Some of the programs existing in 1963 included adult band, bridge, ballroom dancing, dog obedience, golf, knitting and crochet, a flower arrangement class, painting, square dancing, and swimming classes. Other sports related activities, such as city softball and basketball, were already in existence, having started with the original program in 1953. The department existed for the full year for the first time in 1964, and a number of programs were added ai a result. The money collected from fees expanded to $16,000 for the full year, the department received additional money from the city, and the staff expanded to include a full-time director, a full-time assistant, a secretary and a half-time graduate student. Volleyball was started for the first time, and 'It really went over big," Wtrner said. The Young America football program was itarted in 1964, but later it experienced difficulties. "The parents got into it, and it got highly competitive," Werner said. "So we dropped it. But then two or three years ago the people decided they really wanted it, so we brought it back. But we brought it back very low-key, by not announcing standings in the paper, etc." The Razorbacks women's fast-pitch softball team was started in 1963, and a slow-pitch league evolved two summers later with six teams. Other programs which were started in the mid-1960s included Young America baseball, and Junior League baseball, which evolved into today's popular Babe Ruth program. A number of evening classes were added to the program during the 1960s, and Werner considers Greeley innovative in this area. "We were one of the first recreation departments to have evening classes. Other cities were mostly sports oriented, but today almost every good recreation department includes classes in its program. A lot of recreation departments used to call me in the 1960s and ask to see our brochures," he said. The Pet Parade and Hobby Fair were also started under Werner, and both are still going strong today. "Through it all, our city council gave us terrific backing," Werner said. "Greeley Is a very recreation- oriented city, and the people have always been behind us." The growth of women's involvement in recreation classes necessitated the hiring of a women's sports supervisor in 1966. Leon Kuhn, the current director of Parks and Recreation, came in January of 1973 to replace Werner. The staff today includes a Recreation Superintendent, three full-time supervisors, a senior citizens supervisor, two secretaries, and an intern from the University of Northern Colorado nearly every quarter. By 1976 the department's budget had grown to $408,786, and will undoubtedly continue higher as the department grows. A Charter Amendment voted on and passed in November, 1973, slightly changed the structure of the department. It created the Department of Parks and Recreation, removing the Division of Recreation from the Department of Culture. It also assigned the Parks Division to this new department, taking it out of the Public Works Department, and changed the name of the Department of Culture to the Department of Culture and Human Resources, which now had the function of "improving human conditions and relationships." The job of Recreation Superintendent is now vacant because of the resignation of Tim Swedlund three weeks ago. Rod Hahn, Keven Wright and Andy Tiquet are the recreation supervisors, and all had somewhat different views on what the function of a recreation department should be. Tiquet, whose main responsibilities include women's Softball, volleyball, tennis, Young America baseball, and women's baskteball, said, "The R e c r e a t i o n D e p a r t m e n t should provide recreation for all ages, and the programs should vary from athletic to cultural. We should always remember we are trying to serve the quantity of people and not a select few, and when we must accept a fee for certain programs it should be done with the thought in mind that all income groups of people in the community will be able to afford the cost. The programs should be conducted in such a way that its participants derive a pleasure out of it and not a burden." Hahn directs the men's Softball, city track meet, gymnastics, Young America football, and men's basketball. He said the Recreation Department's providing of activities should include surveying "community needs and desires and then taking an active leadership role in organizing these programs. This leadership role includes coordinating use of existing facilities, providing qualified personnel to successfully carry out the program, and developing the program with the needs of the community and the professional philosophy and experience of the staff in mind." Wright's main duties include Babe Ruth baseball, Young America Softball, wrestling, flag football, ski program, ice skating and the free throw tournament. Wright said, "Recreation must provide leisure time activities regardless of what type to all citizens of Greeley at the lowest possible cost and of the highest quality. This will not only give people something constructive and healthful to do but will also help develop a community spirit or civic pride which is necessary to have a city successfully co-exist." Joyce Sack is the senior citizens supervisor. What lies ahead for the recreation department may in part be molded by a new policy which allows city residents to have first choice in the department's programs. Umitied facilities and budget cut-backs have forced this new procedure, which allows Greeley residents to register first for the program, and if space it left, then county residents are allowed to sign up. The department Is planning no major construction in 1976, again because of a limited budget. Projects planned for 1976 include replacement of the Glenmere Parks sprinkler system, development of a bike trail along Reservoir Road, building picnic shelters at Broadview and Sherwood Parks, providing playground equipment at Woodbriar Park and renovation of the sprinkler system at Sherwood Park. There are no plans for building a recreation complex, although some have expressed the opinion that there is a need for one. The City holds the opinion that if a petition is presented to them with a strong demand for reinstating the previous plan or an alternate plan for recreation facilities, then the issue will be pursued promptly. What can be done in the future with the money available and what the recreation department would like to do to create an ideal program are two different issues. Following is a list of expansions that Kuhn said he would like to make to improve the present programs if the funds were available: --More facilities for an expanded youth baseball program. --A senior citizen center so that the present senior citizens programs could be expanded. --More centralized tennis complexes, became the city's tennis programi have to travel around the city to conduct classes and tournamenti. --An indoor let rink, designed for multiple use, to meet the present hockey and ice skating demands. --An indoor swimming pool with which to provide a well supervised year-round aquatics program. --A civic auditorium to provide space for cultural activities, concerts, musicals, drama and convention space. --Additional handball and basketball courts to meet the growing needs of the public. --A rifle range for expanded hunter safety programs, general recreation and club shooting. --Saunas and locker rooms for tliose involved in physical activities. --Meeting rooms and banquet areas for clubs and organizations, arts, crafts, recreational classes and banquets. -Additional Softball field lighting and new facilities to keep up with the growth of men's and women's Softball. --Expanded outdoor facilities for football and soccer programs. --General golf course in- provements to provide a better quality of play. --Playground additions and park development to provide more space for general open area non-supervised games and activities. Tribune Sports pages Men's Softball program has grown City women's softball program is popular Lighting, leaking drainage pipes, errant model planes and limited facilities and funding. These are some problems the director of Colorado's largest women's Softball program has been responsible for handling In the past few years. Despite the assortment of problems, there hat been steady growth since the Greeley program began with one semi-professional fast- pitch team, the Razorbackt, in 1963. The Razorbacks, who competed against teams from Colorado and surrounding states, did not have a home field and consequently played at whatever Greeley field was available. In 1963, the first year the recreation department was organized, Recreation Director Fred Werner assigned Rich Unterseher to take over the women's program. Unterseher was assisted by Dick Stegner. The following summer, Greeley had six teams and arranged a Greeley area league. The Razorbacks played in the fast- pitch league and against teams outside of Greeley. In 1966, the Razorbacks petitioned the Greeley City Council for a field for the women's program. In 1967 their request became reality -- West field was constructed, but primarily for the use by the high school. Since then West has been the site of 95 per cent of the women's Softball games. The overflow games are played at Island Grove Softball Complex or other fields not in use at the time. In 1971, women's slow-pitch Softball was first offered to Greeley residents. Slow-pitch and fast-pitch programs ran simultaneously until last year when the fast-pitch program was discontinued. Law Equipment is the only active fast-pitch team remaining in Greeley, but they are not affiliated with the city. Although the same size ball is used in both games, the pitcher's release is different in fast ball. Players are prohibited from bunting or stealing bases in slow-pitch. The team consists of (en players. A fast-pitch team has nine players - no short fielder. Slow-pitch has steadily increased in popularity since 1971 when there were eight sfow- pitch teams. In 1972, under the direction of Rod Hahn, the number of slow pitch teams grew to 12 and currently there are 37 teams. As the program expanded, the number of contests increased. In 1971, each team played six games, and there was a small 9-team city tournament. Following a nine-game schedule in 1972, the city tournament completed the season. Last year each team played 12 regular games plus a minimum of two. city tournament games. The Softball program, the most popular program offered by the recreation department, is restricted by a limited budget and facilities. "Because of the booming program, we're reaching our limits at the present time. The interest is unbelievable. All the fields are full," said Andy Tiquet, present women's Softball director. This year, $9,417 was allocated to the women's program to pay for salaries, supplies, special contracts, trophies and miscellaneous. The budget will accommodate a maximum of 40 teams. This is the first year it has been necessary to limit teams. Teams will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis with preference given to Greeley and then to other area teams. "We try to give them what they pay for - good schedules, officials and scorekeepers," Tiquet said. Besides money, the shortage of facilities is even more restricting to the program. The one field at West is "booked solid" every weekday with four games a night. Last year 20 to 25 rained-out games had to be rescheduled on weekends. Last year, teams were divided into four leagues - two competitive and two recreational - to keep competition on an equal basis. "Like any other recreation program it is designed for people to have a good time." Tiquet said. White the recreation league was expanding, the competitive league gained more prominence allowing Greeley to claim quality as well as quantity in its Softball program. Greeley women's teams are well-known throughout the region after placing five teams in the top six at the regional tournament each year. At the regional tournament in Greeley last year, teams from Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Wyoming competed. Southwest Bolt of Arizona emerged as the regional champion for the second straight year. Cito's Restaurant of Greeley placed third and Hesler's Hustlers of Greeley was fourth. Greeley has a reputation for being the best city In the state for slow-pitch Softball. The site of its program is considerable for a town with a population uf 55,000. Out of state teams praise Greeley because they are treated with hospitality here and they always express a desire to return. Although Greeley has perhaps the best Softball program in Colorado, program director Andy Tiquet still tries to solve problems which are inevitable. Two of the vital problems are lack of facilities in general and specifically not enough lighted fields. The facilities can accomodate 40 teams, but Tiquet estimates between 40 and 50 teams will register this spring. "In five years, I've never seen the go downhill. When the fast-pitch league dissolved, most of the players converted to slow- pitch," he said. Another serious problem Tiquet faces is finding enough good umpires to officiate the games. Because the program is so large, it is difficult to get enough quality officials. There are some 40 umpires needed for the total Softball program, men's and women's. Last year's field supervisor, Joan Siudzinski, was in charge of 10 women's officials -- six women and four men. When officials can't find substitutes, obvious problems arise. On the humorous and more uncommon side of the problems Tiquet must resolve are horses exercising on West's field. Last year during tie city tournament, a drainage pipe burst, leaving left field more suitable for swimming than Softball. The accident caused mass confusion as eight of the todays of tournament play had to be rescheduled. Lightning storms frequently zero in on the field while a game is in progress. One game was cancelled last year after lightning twice struck a light pole in the outfield. "The men's Softball program in Greeley is nice now, but it hasn't been a bed of roses getting there," said Charlie Carlson, member of the most successful slow-pitch softball team in Colorado. Success, exemplified by the McDoy Distributing team, is the hallmark of the Greeley Softball program. The team, which started out in 1969 as Paul's Place, changed sponsors in 1*72 and became Austin and Austin. For the upcoming season, McDoy Distributing will sponsor the team coached by Mike Wilson. Wilson got the team together in 1969. That first year for slow pitch softball, there were 15-20 teams comprised of former fast-pitch players and college players. The fast-pitch players were forced to convert "because slow-pitch was the only game in town." "We started out in t-shirts and jeans, and now most of the teams in the league are completely outfitted," Carlson said. Paul's Place had to borrow pants from a Longmont team the first year because teams couldn't compete in the regionals without full uniforms. It used to cost a mere $100 to sponsor a team, but the minimum now for backing a competitive team is $300 -- and that's just for the basic necessities. Major competitive teams, like McDoy Distributing, cost sponsors between $2,000 and $5,000 per season. "Paul's Place softball team originated as just something fun until we won the first state tournament," Carlson said. The same team won the state tournament from 1969 to 1973. In the last two years, they did not enter the state tournament because they already qualified for regional competition and D and J Livestock of Greeley were the champions. Greeley has hosted the state Amateur Softball Assn. championships for the last four years and Greeley teams have swept the first three places every year except in 1970 when a team from Conejos County was second. At regionals, Austin and Austin won the title in 1973 and was the runner-up in 1974 and 1975. Following the championship victory in 1973, Austin and Austin traveled to Cleveland, Ohio for nationals, but was eliminated in the second round after two losses. Although Greeley furnished the facilities and officials, private citizens (Jerry Meeker and Ken Williams) ran the state tournament between 1969 and 1972. In addition to a city double elimination tournament hosted by. the recreation department at the close of the regular season, Greeley also hosts a private tournament sponsored by McDoy Distributing. When the program first began, games were played at three city parks -- Farr, Sherwood and Broadview. Construction of the Island Grove Softball Complex began in 1970 when the backstops and buildings were completed. In 1971, the infield, playing surfaces and outfield were prepared and the five-field complex was finished In 1972. In 1973, Austin and Austin played a benefit game with the KHOW radio team and raised over $500 for lighting 'at the Island Grove Complex. Ir, Uic past four years, the number of participants In the men's softball program has almost doubled. In 1972, there were 44 teams and last year there were 73 teams, each with an average of 15 members. Last year six teams were turned away because of lack of facilities. "We try to provide softball activity for all skill levels, from the top-level competitive teams to the recreational teams. Beginners find Softball fun and it gives everyone a chance for family and friends to get together in an organized activity," said Rod Hahn, men's softball director. "Skill levels always vary, but softball it the type of sport that anybody can play," Carlson said. "The whole program doesn't revolve around the competitive teams, there are more players In the recreational league," he added. There was an organizational change in the program In 1974. Teams used to draw names out of a hat to form leagues, but now the recreation department divides teams into five leagues -- one competitive league with 13 teams and four recreational leagues. For the upcoming season, there will be two lighted fields and Ilahn expect* abwut C3 teams to register. The budget allows for a maximum of between 65 and 70 teams, so it is evident that the program size has caught up with the facilities. Warnoco history began as entertainment center Warnoco Park, a recreation area which has provided the residents of Greeley with entertainment for 55 years, has featured some of the biggest names in entertainment ever to perform in Greeley. Warnoco Park, Mth Avenue and 2nd Street, first opened In 1921 as Sail's Garden's with a roller rink, swimming pool and a merry-go-round' was built and owned by Clarence Sail. Sail operated the recreation area for \ l h years, selling it to the Barrett brothers. The Barretts in turn leased it to Warrick Norcross, who in 1935 purchased it along with 10 acres of land which included a house built in I«fW at the corner of 14th Avenue and 2nd Street. When Norcross purchased the recreation area, he sponsored a contest to rename the gardens, with a prize of 125 to go to the winner. At that time $25 was quite an incentive. Lois Bauer, using the com binatlon of Norcross 1 first and last names to come \tp with Warnoco, was the winner of the contest. The format of the recreation area changed in the early 1930s. The rink which is now called the little rink was used for skating during the winter and dancing in the summer months. For entertainment, Norcross would bring in big name bands which were performing at Elitch Gardens in Denver on Elitch's closed nights. Among the entertainers which performed at Warnoco were Lawrence Welk and his five-piece band, and Andy Kirk's Band, featuring the now famous Mary Lou Williams. Some might also remember the wrestling matches which were held during the summers in the ourdoor arena. Many of the greats wrestled there, in eluding Grceley's own Toots Mondt. Time has changed things at Warnoco Park. The pool is now gone and a new rink was built Just west of the old rink in 1948. The recreation area has un dergone extensive remodeling recently. Warnoco is now owned and operated by Marilyn and J.W Norcross Jr. Save! Be Ready When Work Starts! HP SURPLUS STORE Woolworth Is next door to us! MEN'S DRESS LOAFERS AND LACE SHOES Sizes 6 - 6'/2 only. 2.00 pr 1 1 POUND I LEATHER I SCRAPS in bundles. Make wallets, etc. 1.19 WORK PANT, DRESS PANT, DRESS JEANS 1 On Table 1 2.00 1 LEVI'S STRAIGHT I LEG CORDUROY I JEANS · · Waist 28, 29 or 30 1 5.00, 1 WOOL SWEATER 1 PULLOVER VEST 1 · All colors. I Value 7.98 1 3.98 BOYS' HAND-LACE "MOCCASINS" Rubber soles. Sizes 3, 3/2, 4, 4'/2, 5'/2. Now l.i/O MARINE FIELD PANTS - Clean USED HIKERS Welders sold to us. AslsZ.jOpr. Boys or Girls WIND-PANT for Hiking or Work. U.S. Air Force 8.00 new Now4.00 FUR-LINED ZIPPER SHOES Size 9, 10, 11,12. Value 12.50 4.00 P r COTTON WORK SOCKS Long or Short top. 3/1.50 WORK OXFORDS Cork soles. Sizes 8 - 12. Were 19.98 7.98 100% WOOL 1 PULLOVER 1 SWEATERS I · Values to 11. 91 · Now I/ L Price I Boys or Girls 1 CORDUROY I WESTERN JACKET 1 Age 14 to 22. ·" Value to 15.00 1 5.00 1 PENNY LOAFERS I HAND SEWN I FINE LEATHER I Sizes 7, 7'/2, 8, · 8'/2, 10, 10'/2. 1 25.00 Value I 8.00 1 ZIPPER-NYLON 1 QUILTED WORK 1 JACKETS 1 I Size 34-36 only. · 6.98 1

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