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Youth of Rural Communities Remain Hardest Hit, Post Pandemic

6/6/22, 9:00 PM

Rural communities struggle to provide recreational resources that are so badly needed

Valley First, a 5013c non-profit serving the rural Colorado communities of Colorado City and Rye, today announced its efforts to raise funds dedicated to support the development of a multi-use sports field in Greenhorn Valley Park, a project that was abandoned by the Colorado City Metro District over 15 years ago due to the market collapse and insignificant funding.

Valley First, a foundation made up of a small group of community members, was created in 2021 to foster inclusive community participation by providing environmentally sound facilities and outdoor locations for arts, education, recreation, celebration, and locally based human services in Colorado City and Rye, Colorado. The foundation and its members are determined to improve the lives and safety of the youth in their community and providing a multi-use sports field is step one.

"Since we don't have a field, the kids have to practice on a dirt patch with vole holes and rattlesnakes," said Misty Sprague, Executive Director, Valley First. "There have been many injuries, and last year one boy even had to get rushed to the ER with a rattlesnake bite."

Colorado City is unincorporated, so the community does not have the ability to leverage any local sales tax for such projects. Additionally, the Colorado City Metro District only has a handful of staff members, and none of whom are equipped with the expertise or resources to attain grant funding or project manage this work.

"Back in 2007, the Colorado City Metro District began a three phase project to install and complete a multi-use field for the community," said Sprague. "Shortly after phase two was completed, the market collapsed, and the funds were essentially gone."

Valley First has since applied for 32 grants but are coming up empty handed. "The needs are so great everywhere," said Sprague. "Rural communities are often not prioritized because they are considered less impactful, but a child's hometown should not be the determining factor on their ability to have a successful future."

The foundation is proposing a project in three phases:

  • finish the football field on the west side of Greenhorn Valley Park, including turf installation, bleachers, goal posts, landscaping, and lighting (if possible).

  • add a smaller softball field/ little league field, refurbish the playground, and improve the trail system around the park.

  • build a community center that will have a gym, classrooms, exercise room, community rooms, and potentially an indoor pool/waterpark.

By phase three, Valley First is also planning to partner with the Health Department and Workforce Planning to offer local community resources within the center.

If you'd like to donate and support Valley First, please go to If you'd like additional information about the initiative or to get involved in other ways, contact

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