Park Board talks new ballfield pricing structure ahead of Thursday meeting

More than an hour of discussion yielded a bit of progress as members of the Cameron Park Board hammered out the finer details of what to charge for usage fees at the new Cameron Community Park at Old Somerville. 

While some argued the new ballfields should be free to the public, considering the public pays the sales tax funding construction of the fields, Cameron Parks Superintendent Steve Garr said field fees are necessary so the new complex does not quickly fall into disrepair. 

“At some point, we have to start generating revenue. We’ve given things away for too long. The discussion of Kearney does it this way or whoever does it this way. I don’t know how their funding is set up,” Garr said. “Maybe they have the luxury of giving things away, but we don’t. I know you guys think we have a lot of money, but we don’t. I’ve worked here 15 years and we barely scraped by, and barely got anything done. I don’t think we can give anything away anymore.”

As part of the breakdown originally proposed to the board, Cameron residents would pay $10 per hour and $15 on the weekends while non-residents will pay $15 per hour and $20 for weekends. All-day fees jump to $65 per day for residents and $75 for weekends while non-residents will pay a $100 per day and $125 for weekends. Those fees also include a $50 marking fee with an additional $20 per touchup between games. The two soccer fields will have an identical price. Residents and non-residents can save pay between $10 and $15 less for use of the park’s two baseball/softball practice fields. 

After nearly two hours of discussion, Cameron Park Board President Matt Arndt requested a few changes to the fee structure, which Garr will likely present during Thursday’s meeting. Another issue the board will address is concerns expressed in social media whether the Cameron R-1 School District will have access to the field once they open this Spring. Last week, the Cameron Parks and Recreation Department released a statement addressing the concern, and the city’s continued commitment to serving its residents, as well as the students and staff in the Cameron R-1 School District. Cameron R-1 School District Athletic Director Kristy McIntosh, who also serves as coach of the CHS Lady Dragon Softball Team is listed in the public participation section of Thursday’s agenda. 

According to the CPRD statement, the Cameron School District and other local teams will be able to use the fields at Cameron Community Park at Old Somerville.  It is our goal to offer the local teams and leagues first opportunity to book games and tournaments.  We will be more than happy to work with the school district during times of construction/renovation, so that the Dragons have a home field to use.

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