The Sedalia Park Board had a busy agenda during Thursday’s meeting, discussing several maintenance projects and approving new rental rates for fields.
The main topic of discussion was regarding the rental rates for use of Sedalia Parks and Recreation Department fields. Associations affiliated with Parks and Rec do not pay a fee to use fields; only private teams or non-Parks and Rec teams are charged the per-day fee. The rate stands at $50 per day for a fully prepped field, but that rate will change Jan. 1, 2016.
Parks Director Mark Hewett explained that Sedalia has some of the lowest field rental rates in the area at $50 a day, especially when it costs $73 for two employees to prep and mark the field each time. After researching rates in other cities, the board approved “adjusting the rates accordingly,” Hewett said, to $75 per day or $100 per day for a game-ready, marked field.
The board also discussed how to handle competitive baseball teams utilizing Sedalia fields. Twenty-eight competitive teams, from Sedalia and area cities, use fields Tuesday and Wednesday nights free of charge. With so many competitive teams, it has been tough to schedule games for Parks and Recreation youth baseball league teams, which the department has worked to grow since it took over the league in 2012.
“(The competitive teams) are private and hurting our development of our youth baseball,” Hewett told the board. “… Our programs should have priority on our fields.”
All present board members agreed, approving a motion that priority would be given to its own teams for field scheduling going forward.
Hewett said he would speak to those involved with the competitive teams and give them two options: either form an association that provides financial statements to the department, allowing them to use the fields for free, or pay the rental fee each game or tournament. He will present that information at the November meeting.
Hewett also reported that an alarm system and game cameras have been installed at the Clover Dell concession stand to hopefully prevent further vandalism and theft. This comes after the stand sustained serious damage and more than $500 worth of food items were stolen this month from the Paul Klover Soccer Association twice in one week.
“We owe it to our youth groups to protect them the best we can,” Hewett said.
The walking track at the former Jennie Jaynes Stadium will soon have lighting installed to make it safer for residents who utilize the field at night. LED lights will be installed, costing about $7,000, on the west side of the field in the coming weeks. Because of the high cost, only the west side will get new lighting, but board members noted the light from the tennis courts may be enough for the east side of the field. If more lighting is still needed, it will be included in next year’s budget.
Les Wolpers, Chris Stewart, Rhiannon Foster and Roy Poynter were absent from the meeting.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.