The Forsyth County parks system’s biggest need is more of what it calls rectangle fields.
Some of the most popular youth sports — football, soccer and lacrosse — are played on rectangular-shaped fields. And all three programs are growing in Forsyth.
Jerry Kinsey, the department’s director, talked to the parks and recreation board Tuesday night about a recent meeting of county and school officials to discuss the possibility of improving middle school fields that could be shared for student and park use.
If the county upgraded the fields, those programs would gain more use in the spring and summer, but little in the fall, Kinsey said.
The board didn’t jump at the idea and decided to wait for an upcoming recommendation on the matter that Kinsey anticipates from the school superintendent.
Board member Todd Holbrook, also a middle school football coach, said the county could get a lot of extra use in the summer, but student sports would need the fields during most of the school year.
He added that three schools don’t have enough space to improve the fields and others are too close to residential areas to install lights.
“I don’t see a benefit to it,” Holbrook said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a viable option.”
The suggestion to explore the option originated in the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Committee, which includes two county commissioners.
Following the meeting of officials from the county and schools, the committee will soon revisit the matter.
If that group decides to go forward with improving school fields, the issue will return to the parks and recreation board for reconsideration.
“We’re trying to figure out how to create more field space as quickly and cheaply as possible,” Kinsey said.
The future parks at Lanierland and in the Matt community will include more fields, he said, but the development of those sites hasn’t moved forward.
Adding turf to an existing field would increase the time that people could use it, since it won’t wear down and require the maintenance of grass, Kinsey has said.
If allowed on the property, installing lights at a school field could open up the space to non-school teams after dark.
Kinsey said the county would be “lucky” to have enough leftover money from its parks bond and 1-cent sales tax funding to improve three fields.
“Then you’ve got the option to do three middle school fields or turf some of our fields,” he said.