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More Ball Sports Added to City’s Youth Programs


February 24, 2011 by wcobserver

Commission Shrinks Size to Comply with Ordinance

Staff Report

WEST FORK- More community activities and year round youth ball programs may soon be things local residents will see from the city’s parks and recreation department.

At its monthly meeting on Feb. 14, commission members approved a proposal to take over the West Fork Quarterback Club’s youth football league.   They also approved a city-sponsored adult flag football league and will take action on a youth basketball league at their March meeting.

The commission started its meeting by accepting the resignation of Vickey Mesplay and Russell Ogle to reduce the parks commission size from seven to five members.  The ordinance which formed the parks commission allows for only five members.

John Selph, who chairs the parks commission, said he had no idea when the commission was expanded to seven members and didn’t realize the commission had not been in compliance.  Commission members approved to ask the city council in March to authorize an ordinance to expand the commission’s members to seven.

Selph said the commission planned to reappoint both members at a later date if the council agrees to expand the size of the parks commission.

The bulk of Monday’s meeting was spent ironing out details to offer football and baseball youth programs beginning this year.

David Roebke, Parks Director, said the Quarterback Club had cited a lack of volunteers as their reason for wanting to hand over the program to another organization.   Members of the Quarterback Club pitched the city on the idea of taking over the program at a meeting last spring.

“In the past I’ve spoken quite loudly about not doing this, but I feel like David could do this,” said Selph of Roebke.

Selph said that in the past he didn’t feel the city had a parks director with the expertise to develop additional ball leagues.  The city has run a successful baseball and softball program for a number of years.

The West Fork Quarterback Club has said it will donate its equipment to the city, according to Roebke.   There was some discussion about the condition of the equipment and how to fund repairs or new equipment going forward.  The commission discussed keeping the participation fee at $80.

The commission’s approval to offer a youth football program was contingent on the West Fork School District permitting the city to use its facilities.  Bobbi Hennington expressed  concern that restrooms and concession facilities would be needed and wanted to ensure the school was on-board before moving forward.

Roebke also proposed and received approval for an adult flag football league.  He said he already has enough interest to form two teams.   Roebke said he hoped the city would see at least four teams in its first year and said that anyone from the surrounding area could participate although the games would all be played in West Fork.  The fee for participation will be $10 per person.

Commission members tabled a decision on a youth basketball league and a summer youth sports camp until their March meeting.  Roebke said that he has already coordinated a youth basketball league as a volunteer in West Fork for the past two years and would like to see the city also offer this under the parks umbrella.   Roebke said concessions have traditionally been provided for youth basketball by the West Fork Booster Club and proceeds primarily fund the high school’s Black and Gold Banquet.  Commission members asked that more details be fleshed out before the March meeting.

Baseball and softball concessions were also discussed and the commission will consider proposals at their next meeting.  Roebke expressed interest in having his family run concessions and Bobbi Hennington expressed concern Roebke might be spreading himself too thin.  Brian Bowerman said he had discussed concessions with a professional concessions caterer who could offer a broader menu, but that the vendor was seeking a commitment for concessions that extends beyond the baseball and softball program.

In other parks news:

The commission approved $875 to have the parking lines repainted in the Carter Park parking lot.

Commission members approved an Earth Day and Easter community event that would include an Easter Egg Hunt, geocaching, and a balloon launch from Riverside Park that would send images to a screen as it ascends to 50,000 feet.  Mayor Frances Hime said the Renewable Resource Center is also planning events for Earth Day and she hoped festivities could span two days April 23 and 24.

Doug Pope was absent.



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