The Post-Journal

All-Weather Track Will Be For Everyone

Now that’s it official, Ron Graham, the executive director of the Chautauqua Striders, wants everyone to know that the proposed $700,000 all-weather track, which will be built at Jefferson School on Jamestown’s south side, won’t be limited only to Jamestown schools and Jamestown residents.

“The emphasis for the track is for widespread community use,” Graham said last week.

More simply, anyone in the greater Jamestown and southern Chautauqua County area who wants to use the track, can, provided he follows the rules and regulations set forth by a user committee, a seven member group representing a cross-section of the running community.

Plus, the track, which sits on Jamestown School System property, won’t cost the city taxpayers a penny.

“We have taken the money we have raised locally through community foundations and made a gift to the Jamestown Public School System, which in turn has given us (the Chautauqua Striders) guarantees – through the establishment of a track user committee – that this gift becomes one for the entire community,” Graham said.

Included on the committee will be one representative each from the City Parks and Recreation Department, the Chautauqua Striders, the Jamestown High School Athletic Department and the Southern Tier Track Officials; one at large representative and two Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Interscholastic Athletic Conference officials.

“The user committee will govern the use of the track,” Graham said.

What exactly does that mean?

The Post-Journal obtained a copy of a draft which outlined the proposed scheduling and from the looks of it, every imaginable group will be provided for.

Here’s the gist of that schedule.

*March – Area high school practice and clinics, open to all high schools upon approval of a written request. Monday through Saturday;
*April – May – Area high school competitions as scheduled by the CCAC;
*June – July – August – Chautauqua Striders, City Parks & Recreation. Summer Track & Field Program (for youths 5-15 and open masters 16-49), community recreational programs (senior citizens, handicapped and general public) and major championships and nationals;
*September – October – November - Community recreation programs and Chautauqua Striders Lighted Schoolhouse activities. Monday through Friday, and open public recreation program on Sunday. No track-related programs will be held during Jamestown home football games;
*December – January - February – Available as weather permits.

“All access to the facility will be planned and programmed,” Graham said. “There won’t be an open gate…That means that there will be enough hours that will hopefully accommodate any schedule.”

“All area high school kids are going to run on this track. During the summer months, the entire community is going to be able to access this track. If we didn’t have these guarantees, forget it.”

City Parks and Recreation Director, Russell Diethrick, who is also an ad hoc committee member, said the ideal for a user committee was derived from the success the College Stadium Tenants and the Allen Park for Rink Tenants committees have had.

“They worked very well,” he said. “The intent is to equally meet everybody’s needs.”

Jamestown School Superintendent C. Tod Eagle said the model being used by the College Stadium Tenants Committee was “something we could replicate here and resolve any kind of conflicts that may come up and give it some sense of balanced fairness.

“There will be people that will create uses for it that will be somewhat stressful early on. One of things, I told them. (ad hoc committee) a week and a half ago, is nobody can predetermine, right now how things are going to go.”

But once the kinks are worked out, it will be full steam ahead.

Beside the availability for community-wide use, Graham is particularly excited, about the possibility of the Striders playing host to Junior Olympic meets, regional Junior Olympic meets, track invitationals and classics.

“People have seen basketball games, people have seen football games, how many people have seen an all-day track meet,” Graham asked.

The Striders executive director also has his sights set on a major masters competition for people over 80 or “any kind of competition we can schedule on it” during the summer.

“I can’t wait to get started,” said.

The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.