This open letter is to the members of the Calvert County Board of Education and the Calvert County commissioners.

For years we’ve had to deal with substandard field conditions in the county parks and public schools. We’ve grown tired of games being canceled because of poor field conditions, maintenance wasn’t done, or there weren’t enough grounds crews to maintain fields during or after rains.

We’ve watched as our athletic directors, teachers and coaches in the public schools struggle to make their fields barely playable every week on their own time. We’ve listened as other fans, coaches and players complained about the field conditions in Calvert County.

We’ve grown tired of the injuries that occur on Calvert County fields because of poor field conditions. We’ve watched as the surrounding counties all made the move to turf fields in their parks and schools.

To put it plainly, we’re tired and we demand that our elected officials bring turf playing fields to Calvert public schools and parks.

Many would argue that turf fields are a luxury and there are other things our tax dollars should be spent on, but that just isn’t the case. Turf fields, while they are costly up front, provide a much greater value over the long term. Maintenance of turf fields is four times less than natural grass fields and the number of hours that can be scheduled on a turf field greatly exceeds that of natural grass. This makes the cost per hour of usage for turf fields much lower.

The median income in Calvert County consistently ranks in the top 10% to 20% in the country every year, and its time that the tax revenue generated go toward improving our public school and park athletic facilities and fields.

Bear in mind that sports and athletics are just as crucial to our children as academics. For many playing youth and public school sports, this is their only source of a healthy family. It is the only place where they may have the opportunity to learn valuable life skills that will translate into their future.

It also bears pointing out that our public school athletes are unable to compete on an even playing field with other schools. Take for instance Patuxent High School — they have won 15 SMAC titles and 22 regional titles while playing on probably the worst athletic field in the tri-county area. Imagine if they had a field that didn’t limit their potential.

The cost of these turf field projects could be shared by the county parks and recreation and the board of education as has been demonstrated recently in St. Mary’s County. Bringing turf fields not just to our high schools but also our public parks will open up new revenue streams for our local communities. Our parks and recreation department could host tournaments in our local parks that don’t require the burden of massive overhead for care and maintenance of fields during such tournaments. These tournaments would also be a boon for local businesses.

We the citizens of Calvert County are tired of being last. We’re tired of seeing our sister counties enact change while our elected officials ignore our requests. We’re tired of seeing our tax dollars going places other than our youth. We’re tired of asking and instead are demanding the change we want to see for our children.

The time is now, county commissioners and board of education. Take the initiative and form a partnership that brings turf fields to Calvert County. Be the leaders we’ve elected you to be. Let’s make this happen for our children and our county.

From a voting citizen of Calvert County.