GREEN COVER SPRINGS, Fl -- Charger Elite, an amateur track and field club made up of children from the Green Cove Springs area, used to practice at the middle school's track field. But this past Summer the school decided to place locks on the gate which kept the team off the field for the first time in four years.
"I was shocked," said Byron Parks. "The entire community uses the track; it has been opened for decades."
Parks is the coach of Charger Elite and said since August he has been forced to use a nearby city park to train his team. The park does not have a track and field, nor basketball courts -- just a baseball diamond and an open field.
"We have to have somewhere to practice because we are going to Birmingham, Alabama in December for an indoor meet," said Parks.
So he does it by using orange cones to mark the field so that his team would know where to start and how to stay in their lane.
"It is all about the kids," he said.
Charger Elite is made up of 24 children, ages 4-to-18. Parks said the sport teaches them discipline, helps them to develop their skills, and builds their character.
They travel to compete and had just returned from Junior Olympics in Iowa to learn the place they've practiced for the past four years is now off limits.
Parks said no one from the school has spoken with him directly as to why their access has been denied.
Clay County School district Spokesperson Nicole Snyder told On Your Side:
"The track is school property and the district has a protocol for using school property.
Charger Elite has to apply for its use, fill out liability forms and pay a fee."
Snyder said there is no record of the AAU team following the district's protocol and the school was unaware of the track club was using the facility for the past four years.
Parks finds that hard to believe.
"I just want them to open the tracks," he said. "When the school is out unlock the gate so we can use it."
Coach Parks said his team has competition in Birmingham in December. He is hoping they can work out their differences before then so the team can begin training at the school facility again.