Photo: Melissa Lopez / Cougar News
By Melissa Lopez | COC Cougar News
[Cougar News] – You may have passed by Cougar Stadium and seen walkers, joggers and runners on the track, but not recently. College of the Canyons is now enforcing a longstanding rule barring the public from using the facility without approval.
Signs plastered the field, notifying the public that the track is not open for unauthorized use, and that violators will be prosecuted.
According to COC Athletic Director, Chuck Lyon, the track was never open to the public – people just used it.
“What we want to get away from is constant use, we are impacted and we have to be mindful of not displacing our classes and our teams,” Lyon said.
Lyon and COC are now enforcing the regulations because of the potential for lawsuits arising from injuries, and because the college just spent three quarters of a million dollars on renovations.
“We’ve been sued several times over incidents in the stadium and we can’t afford to keep getting sued, so it just doesn’t work that way,” Lyon said.
The stadium was also recently equipped with state of the art field turf “Revolution” monofilament turf, which cost approximately $700,000.
One group called the Santa Clarita Runners has been using Cougar Stadium for many years. Each week they held a track workout for their members. As of now, they’ve hosted their practice elsewhere.
Another member of the community, John Hartung, has been using the facility for many years as well. Just last month he went to the track to workout, but the gates were locked. He was then told that the track is no longer open to the public.
“I’m not aware of what resulted in this decision, but it doesn’t seem right to punish everyone. I would think there has to be a way to allow the public to use the track, and maybe place certain restrictions on those who do use it,” Hartung said.
Hartung has trained at Cougar Stadium for multiple marathons and is upset that this local track is now closed to the public.
“For me personally, it’s upsetting because I would use the track to train for half marathons. The surface was great for running long distances and reducing the risk of injury,” Hartung said.
Lyon would like community members to know that there is a way for them to use the stadium. They must apply for a permit and go through proper channels. One may contact Robin Williams, COC facility coordinator, at 661-362-3240 for more information. The other way is to enroll in an exercise class.