Open Letter to 19th District Agricultural Association Board of Directors,

In advance of your March 20 meeting, I am writing on behalf of the nonprofit youth flag football league here in town called Santa Barbara Friday Night Lights. Our program is for every child in grades K-10th and includes an All-Girls League, Coed League, as well as a Cheer Program. Our program is about allowing kids to have fun playing flag football with their friends, neighbors, and classmates in a safe and healthy environment.

Every season, Santa Barbara Friday Night Lights has to close our registration due to the limited fields available to us. Each year, there are hundreds of boys and girls in grades K-10, from Goleta to Montecito, who we have to turn away since we are unable to accommodate them due to the lack of field space here in Santa Barbara. The emails we get from families disappointed that their child is unable to participate in our program are gut-wrenching. The last couple of years have been extremely difficult on our youth, and not being able to provide them with an outlet to run, play, and be a part of a team is very disappointing.

I am writing to ask that the mission statement of Earl Warren Showgrounds more broadly and accurately reflect the dire needs of the Santa Barbara community at large. Let’s build a space where the equestrian and our youth can both play and perform.

While we respect the historic uses of the facility, we ask that Earl Warren serve as a more inclusive, multi-purpose property that meets emergency management needs, honors historic uses, while also offering recreational field space that thousands of Santa Barbara children can use to play flag football, soccer, lacrosse, and other sports that are so desperately needed.

The event revenue Earl Warren would receive by allowing space for youth sports on the property would greatly enhance and improve the facility for everyone in Santa Barbara, including our equestrian friends!

Earl Warren Showgrounds has the opportunity to truly become “the heroes”‘” in town by allowing our children the opportunity and the space to play!  Please make this letter and request part of the public record.

And if any readers feel moved to comment, they may do so to before March 20.


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