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Some youth baseball activities leaving Clintonville

CYL’s negotiations with city fall through

By Bert Lehman

The Clintonville Youth League, which had been in a dispute over user fees with the city of Clintonville, will move some of its youth sports programs to the villages of Embarrass and Bear Creek this year.

CYL informed the city of Clintonville of the decision in a press release dated Feb. 25.

According to that press release, “for the 2019 season, T-Ball through age 12 will play baseball in the villages of Embarrass and Bear Creek. Ages 13-15 (Pony and Babe Ruth leagues) will continue to play baseball at Bucholtz Park in Clintonville, with each player being required to pay the 2019 Clintonville Parks & Recreation player fee of $20 for residents and $32.50 for non-residents.”

Clintonville City Administrator Sharon Eveland spoke of the youth league’s decision to move some of its program outside the city of Clintonville at the Thursday, March 7 parks and recreation committee meeting.

“They rejected our proposal,” Eveland said.

Committee member Chuck Manske asked Eveland how the city tried to show CYL it understood their concerns.


Eveland said the city assured CYL the basic maintenance items the league presented to the city would be taken care of before the season started.

She added CYL wanted some capital projects completed, including replacing lighting and dugouts this year at Bucholtz Park. They also wanted a new concession stand built for 2024.

The cost to replace the lighting and the dugouts is estimated to be $90,000, Eveland said.

She told the committee that the city couldn’t commit to a project slated for 2024.

“We would certainly put it on our long-term plan to keep it in consideration to see if we can make that happen,” Eveland said. “I told them we could definitely do one of the projects this year. When I say ‘definitely’ I did clarify to make sure they understood I don’t have the ability to commit the city to anything. Everything would go to council.”

Eveland said after discussing the lighting and dugout projects with Clintonville Parks and Recreation Director Justin Mc Auly, they thought replacing the lights should be top priority.

She said CYL thought replacing the dugouts should be the priority.

The CYL press release stated the youth league was asked by the city of Clintonville to contribute 50 percent funding for those projects.

The user fees being charged to CYL were also discussed, according to Eveland.

“I was very frank when I told them, ‘Look, we just can’t take a hit to our operating budget right now with the loss of the revenue,’” Eveland said.

She said she suggested to CYL that volunteer labor be used for mowing and cleaning out the garbage. The city would also provide the mower. In return, she said the city would move to charging CYL a flat fee that would be roughly half what the league paid in 2018.

CYL stated in its press release the proposal received from the city stated the 2019 fee schedule would remain the same unless a labor reduction volunteer program is implemented.

The volunteer program would include the following items, according to the press release:

• “Clintonville Youth League (CYL) volunteers handle all garbage pick-up on days it utilizes the fields. (Volunteers place garbage in bags and tie up, but city staff will collect bags and haul to dumpster.)

• “CYL volunteers clean bathrooms on days it utilizes the fields.

• “CYL volunteers handle all mowing and trimming.

• “CYL volunteers can utilize the city equipment but may only do so after attending a training session with Parks and Recreation staff, and only during regular business hours (6 a.m. to 4 p.m. M-F during the summer). Or, CYL volunteers may utilize volunteer-owned equipment if appropriate for the work.

• “City will provide garbage bags, bathroom and cleaning supplies.

• “All volunteers must be at least 16 years of age and must consent to and pass a background check. Only those who do so are permitted to assist with the labor reduction program due to insurance requirements.

• “Labor reduction program will change fee to a flat rate of $2,500 with a yearly escalator tied to inflation. (No more individual user fees or different rates or in-town versus out-of-town.)”

The press release also stated that the city of Clintonville agreed to address some of the minor maintenance issues prior to the start of the season.

Based on those proposed requirements, CYL stated in the press release: “We would have to continue charging fees to our families to use a public park, as well as, asking our families to volunteer even more time when they should be able to come and watch their child play baseball rather than to do the responsibilities of the paid Park and Rec. staff. In addition, other program within the Clintonville Parks and Rec. Department do not have the same obligations.”

When discussing the negotiations with the parks and recreation committee, Eveland said she felt the conversation went well with the Youth League.

She said she was “completely blindsided” when she found out the CYL was pulling some of its programs out of the city.

She added, “I understand where they’re coming from. But at the same time, I also understand our financial situation here in the city and our needs in various areas, so ultimately we had to do what’s best for the city as a whole.”

According to the CYL press release, it surveyed participating families and found that 81 percent of respondents supported moving some CYL programs to different communities.

The press release concluded: “The Clintonville Youth League cannot continue to pay for fees in which our volunteers and hard-working families continue to do the work. Work that is part of a city’s obligation to a public park. Moving to outlying communities allows us to have the support we have been asking for with our youth baseball. Allowing the focus to be more about children enjoying baseball.”

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