When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth city commissioners heard recommendations for changes in fees for Sportsfield.
The changes were being proposed by staff from the Leavenworth Parks and Recreation Department as well as the Parks and Community Activities Advisory Board.
Some of the fee changes would affect players and organizations that use the baseball and softball fields at the park at 20th and Ottawa streets. But Parks and Recreation officials also are recommending an admission fee to Sportsfield, an idea that previously was voted down by the City Commission.
Tuesday’s meeting was a study session and no formal action was taken. At the end of the meeting, Mayor Larry Dedeke said Parks and Recreation officials had an idea of how commissioners felt and the matter was being pushed back to Parks and Recreation. He said the two parties will get together again.
A $1 admission fee was proposed for Sportsfield during Tuesday’s study session. Last year, city commissioners voted to do away with a $1 admission fee that was implemented after improvements were made to the park.
“I don’t think a dollar is asking a lot,” Julie Stark, a member of the parks advisory board, said Tuesday.
She said she was surprised when it was voted down last year. She thought the admission fee came as part of the refurbished park.
Jim Mathis, president of the advisory board, said other cities such as Atchison, Basehor, Tonganoxie and Kansas City, Kan., charge admission fees.
Tabor Medill, the city’s recreation program supervisor of sports, said attendance of games played at Sportsfield during the summer season totaled 16,654.
Danny Zeck, a member of the parks advisory board, said the attendance was a tribute to the city’s investment in Sportsfield.
Dedeke said the city didn’t pay for the improvements to the park. He said the taxpayers paid for the improvements.
He said a young family with multiple children playing on more than one night a week may not be able to afford to pay for several people to attend the games.
“I’m supporting the taxpayer on this,” he said.
Zeck said he believes taxpayers would like a return on their investment.
Dedeke said parents already are paying fees to have their children play in the sports.
Zeck said he believes people who want their children involved in sports will pay the fee.
Stark said there could be limits on who would being charged the fee. She doesn’t believe a 2-year-old child, for example, would be charged.
City Commissioner Phil Urban suggested charging $2 for admission but also making something such as a $10 season ticket available.
Mayor Pro-Tem Laura Janas Gasbarre, who supported the $1 fee last year, suggested parents who pay fees to have their children play on teams may be able to receive punch cards or wristbands to get into games.
Another fee change that was discussed is charging per player fees for organizations that use Sportsfield for league play. The fees would be $40 for each resident and $45 for each non-resident.
The city already charges the fees for players in its recreational leagues. The new fee would apply to organizations such as American Legion baseball teams.
Keith Melick, a representative of American Legion Post 23, said it already costs an average of $1,500 per person to play American Legion baseball and expressed concern about adding more to the cost.
The usage fees would not apply to the Leavenworth school district which already has a facility usage agreement with the city.
Other proposed fee changes include a charge of $125 per day per field for usage that is above and beyond league games. There’s also a recommendation of a field rental fee of $125 per day per field for tournaments.
There is a recommendation of a field dressing fee for in between tournament games of $20 per hour.
There’s a recommendation for increasing adult softball league fees by $45 per team to help pay for supervision.
There is no recommendation for increasing youth league fees.