July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Cost to play ball is going up in Medina

MEDINA — Sports associations will pay a $5 fee per member for the maintenance of fields in Medina and Montville Township.

“The goal of the city is to maintain the fields on a higher level, and therefore additional funds are needed to maintain the fields on a higher level,” At-large Councilman John Coyne said.
City Council voted unanimously to levy the fee, effective Jan. 24.

According to the ordinance, each participant will pay the fee per sport, per season, for playing on fields in Medina and Montville.

The fee covers school fields maintained by the city, although high school sports teams will not be affected by the fee, city Parks and Recreation Director Tim Swanson said.

He said the city has spent more money maintaining the fields in the last couple of years, the result of meetings with association presidents who pointed out concerns they had with sports fields when Swanson became director in 2006.

The city has since bought more maintenance equipment and developed a program to strengthen the turf, Swanson said.

“Everyone is seeing results, but that’s because we are investing more money,” he said.

Mike Butts, director of Medina Bees Youth Football, expressed concern city residents must pay $5 per child in addition to paying taxes that maintain the fields.

He added the cost of playing on the fields could become expensive for families with kids enrolled in multiple sports.

“It’s not just $5 per kid, it’s per sport, per season, so if you have a kid playing three or four different sports, that’s $15 or $20 per kid,” he said.

Ward 3 Councilman Mark Kolesar said he initially had reservations about the fee.

“My main concern was city residents paying the $5. I just wanted to make sure they weren’t getting the short end of the stick,” he said.

Previously, the city rescinded a $35 sports activity permit fee charged to kids in Montville Township using city fields.

Kolesar said he was concerned that without any kind of fee, the quality of the fields would suffer and thus decided to vote for the ordinance.

“I had a good discussion with Council members and Tim Swanson about the need for additional funds to provide a higher standard for the quality of the fields,” he said.

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@medina-gazette.com.