City responds after softball event was cancelled due to fees - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/12/10

City responds after softball event was cancelled due to fees

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A cancelled softball event this weekend left parents, players, and organizers upset after the city told the event coordinator he would have to pay to use the fields.

We first told you about the cancelled event on Friday.

Organizers of the Pitch, Hit, and Run event expected a few hundred girls to participate in the free event, but these fields stayed empty on Sunday instead.

With the warmer spring-like temperatures also comes a chance for kids to play ball.

Mathew Howard organized a free community softball event which he planned to hold at the Lubbock Youth Sports Complex Sunday. Friday afternoon he had to cancel.

"We were notified that we were going to have to pay fees and provide insurance in order to have the event, and we were unable to do that so we had to cancel the event."

Randy Truesdell with the City of Lubbock Parks and Recreation says those policies, including the $150 fee to help with upkeep, are not new or uncommon.

"Organized events like that can not happen on park facilities without the proper permitting process."

NewsChannel 11 called other West Texas cities comparable in size to Lubbock to see what their policy is. Both Amarillo and Midland also charge rental fees.

Abilene does not, but they do require the event organizers to provide insurance and fill out forms.

Truesdell also said he would have informed Howard about the fees earlier, but he didn't know about the event.

"He's the event coordinator. It would have been his responsibility to contact us to inquire about the rental," says Truesdell.

"I never directly contacted the city about the event because I put out a press release to everyone, and what they do with that information is their choice," says Howard.

Howard says whether or not he contacted the city is not the issue. He thinks groups should not have to pay to use city parks.

"They want to charge fees to do anything on city property which is... We pay for it with our tax dollars. We already pay for it to do things like this," says Howard

The city also added that they have separate agreements with the different sports leagues in town.

They can use these fields for league tournaments, but the also have to pay the fee if they have out of town groups coming in to use them.

Truesdell says had they shown up on Sunday, the fields and restrooms would have been locked, because the city would not have known about the event ahead of time.

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