Archive for Thursday, January 20, 2011

Basehor residents to see discounts under Field of Dreams agreement

The Basehor Field of Dreams sports complex lies empty and covered with snow for now, but in a few months it will be filled with baseball and softball players. The City Council ensured that by awarding a contract Monday for a youth sports operator.

The Basehor Field of Dreams sports complex lies empty and covered with snow for now, but in a few months it will be filled with baseball and softball players. The City Council ensured that by awarding a contract Monday for a youth sports operator.

January 20, 2011

The city of Basehor is set for its first year providing youth sports programming at the Field of Dreams sports complex after awarding an operations contract, and the new arrangement will lead to savings for Basehor residents.

The Basehor City Council on Monday voted, 4-1, to allow the National Youth Sports Sanctioning Organization to operate youth sports programs and concessions at the city-owned Field of Dreams complex, pending a legal review of the agreement. Member Iris Dysart opposed the measure.

Under the agreement, Basehor residents will receive discounts on participation in the youth sports leagues provided, as well as free admission to league games.

“For the citizens of Basehor, there will be a noticeable decrease in what they pay to play,” Loughry said.

Troy Wiseman, president and director of operations for NYSSO, told the council members at Monday’s meeting that he had about 15 years of experience running youth sports leagues, much of it in Topeka. But the organization operates a Kaw Valley-area football league, with several teams from Basehor, that has grown from 18 teams in 2002 to about 50 now among all grade levels.

“Youth sports are really growing in this area,” Wiseman said.

Youth baseball and softball participation in Basehor had declined in recent years, Wiseman said, and he’d like to change that and get more use out of the fields at the complex. He said he’d like to expand the baseball and softball programs to last about four months, through August, instead of the current period of May and June.

“The football has really grown, and I’d like baseball to do the same,” Wiseman said.

Though residents of Basehor will get reduced league-participation rates and free admission to league games, they will have to pay the full rates to attend tournaments at the complex. Admission to such tournaments is usually around $4, Wiseman said.

But as part of the agreement, NYSSO will pay 25 percent of its profits each month to the city, and Loughry said the city may use that money to provide a rebate for Basehor residents, though that will be a decision for the city council to make later.

And the tournaments, which could attract teams from out of town, could have additional benefits for the city, council member Dennis Mertz said. They could bring additional revenue to city businesses and also serve as advertising for potential homebuyers.

“We need those people to come in and see how nice we are in this town,” said Mertz, who strongly supported the city’s purchase of the Field of Dreams complex.

Dysart said she voted against the agreement because she had not been provided a copy of its text before the meeting, and she did not think she was able to make an informed vote. She also said the complex discounts should be extended to all children in the school district to be more fair.

“You’ve got two children in one school,” Dysart said. “One lives in the city, and they can participate at free or reduced price, and the child sitting next to them, they have to pay the full thing.”

Mayor Terry Hill said the discount applied only to Basehor residents because their tax money had helped pay for the purchase of the complex.

Wiseman said he would start preparing immediately for the organization’s first baseball and softball seasons, which will begin in the spring.

Also during the meeting, the council:

• Voted, 3-2, not to lower the sewer connection fee for residents of Sewer District No. 3 (see story here).

• Approved, 5-0, a text amendment to the city zoning regulations.

• Approved, 4-1, an ordinance amending the city code to comply with the terms of the city’s new solid waste contract with Deffenbaugh Industries, including the mandated use of plastic carts for trash pickup. Dysart opposed the ordinance.

• Approved, 5-0, a resolution amending the city’s personnel policies. One change is to switch the city’s contributions to future non-police employees’ deferred compensation benefit to match the rate set by the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System (KPERS), rather than the higher rate set by the Kansas Police and Fire Retirement System, which the city previously used. Current employees will not be affected by that change.

• Authorized, 4-1, Hill to sign an agreement with the city of Tonganoxie to share the city of Basehor’s building inspector for one day per week.

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