Construction Underway at Hangge Fields at Monarch Park | Left Hand Valley Courier
By Katrina Stroud, Left Hand Valley Courier
Construction has begun on the Monarch Improvement Project, which will bring a permanent building to Hangge Fields at Monarch Park for the first time in the 35 years the ballfields have been in use.
The project was launched by Niwot Youth Sports (NYS) to build a permanent structure to house the concession stand, provide a storage facility, and replace the port-a-potties with real bathrooms. NYS officials believe these improvements will be a great addition to the community, as the non-profit provides sports programs for youth ages 4 -18 from the St. Vrain Valley School District and Boulder Valley School District. These programs include baseball, softball, basketball, flag football and soccer on a year-round basis. The Niwot Local Improvement District agreed, and provided $15,000 in funding toward the project, which brings people to Niwot from all over Colorado and the Front Range.
The building itself was designed by architect Anne Postle and her staff at Osmosis Art & Architecture, on a pro bono basis. Though the project was conceived in the late 1990s, only now has it become viable, with years of fundraising by Niwot Youth Sports providing much of the financial resources.
The first phase of the project included moving the portable storage facility in the middle of the six ball diamonds, then staking the site for the building, digging trenches for the footers, and pouring the cement footers. Those tasks are now completed and the organization expects to begin digging the trenches for installation of the sewer line in the next three to four weeks.
Glenn Wager, NYS softball director who has been spearheading the project along with Larry Longseth, Tony Dageenakis, and other longtime volunteers for Niwot Youth Sports, is working with Aspen Moon Farm to minimize any disruption to the farming operation as the line will extend from the ballfields north to Monarch Road.
Larry Longseth confirmed that he received word from Jim Jones of the Niwot Sanitation District that a sewer tap donated to NYS 25 years ago for the ballfield at Left Hand Valley Grange Park had been transferred to the Monarch Park ballfield site. A water tap from Left Hand Water District has been in use at Monarch Park for many years, initially for irrigation, but until now, a sewer tap was not needed as there were no permanent restrooms.
That will soon change, to the delight of NYS fundraising coordinator Riki Frea. Frea said the promise of permanent restrooms was the single biggest item mentioned by parents and fans who have donated to the project.
"This project has been with us for about 20 years," said Patrick Longseth, President of NYS and Director of Competitive Baseball and Basketball. "We got some ground from the county in the 1980's. And then over time we built four ballfields."
The 8-acre site was donated to Boulder County in 1984 along with 100 acres of open space by developer Doug Tiefel as a condition of the approval of his development project, which added 22 acres of light industrial buildings on the southwest corner of the 160-acre Ben House farm, as well as housing units along Monarch Road and 79th Street.
Niwot Youth Sports later built two more ballfields on easements granted on adjacent property being developed.
"Over time, we were able to put in grass and irrigation. It's a volunteer-run organization, so it's important to keep things sustainable," said Patrick Longseth, who is an alum of the NYS program. "We really want to have a concession stand where we can sell water, soda, Gatorade, bubblegum, and prepackaged food. And with a storage facility, we can put all our lawn mowers and different equipment in there."
The excavating work is slated to be completed by E-Z Excavating, Inc., a local excavating company whose principal owner, Nick Davies, is also an alum of the NYS program. In fact, his late father, Myrl Davies, also did excavating work for NYS years ago when his son was part of the program. Davies and other subcontractors have committed to donating part of the cost of construction, which Larry Longseth said will go a long way towards making the project financially viable.
Almost $300,000 has been raised for the project and NYS needs to raise an additional $200,000 to reach its goal. NYS is planning on hosting more fundraising events during basketball season early next year. You can learn more and donate to this project using this link: niwotyouthsports.org