Jaycees disappointed over park fees communications

The Princeton City Council motion this past Feb. 2 that dissolved a nearly three-year-old agreement on the use of sports-related facilities at Mark Park has continued to have ramifications, this time with the Princeton Jaycees.

Jaycees president Adam Burke said that the new fees that the city established this past December for the use of softball fields at Mark Park isn’t going to affect the Jaycees. But what has “irritated” him, he said, is that the city did not notify the Jaycees that it was considering dissolving an agreement that the city had involving the Jaycees.

“If I didn’t read about it in the newspaper how was I or anyone in the (Jaycees) chapter to be instructed about it?” Burke asked. “Was it my responsibility to show up at a council meeting? If we had made any changes to the agreement we would have notified all parties involved.”

Burke added that dissolving the agreement has affected negotiations the Jaycees were having with the Princeton Youth Softball Baseball Association (PYSBA), which was formed to organize youth softball and baseball activities and raise money to support them. The Jaycees, Burke said, were working on forming an agreement where the Jaycees and the PYSBA would operate the concession stand at Mark Park together, using PYSBA volunteers and Jaycee members. The Jaycees would keep just enough of the revenue during these PYSBA games to cover the Jaycees’ expenses, and the rest of the concession profit would go to the PYSBA, Burke said.

Now a representative of PYSBA has suggested holding off on any more negotiations on a concession stand agreement because of not knowing what is what on using Mark Park facilities, Burke said.

The 2009 facilities-use agreement that the city dissolved, states that the Jaycees shall remain the sole concession provider at the baseball and softball fields at Mark Park, with the softball association being able to apply for a limited-time permit to operate the concessions when the Jaycees couldn’t.

Princeton City Administrator Mark Karnowski  replied to Burke in a letter Tuesday afternoon.

Karnowski said he had sent a letter to Cheryl Sproessig, who he understood to be the contact person for the Jaycees.

The letter included a new, separate contract between the city and the Jaycees that restored the provisions of the ’09 agreement, Karnowski said.

“There was no intent to slight the Jaycees.  We’re fine with carrying on in the future exactly as in the past,” Karnowski said.

It was unclear Tuesday how Burke would react.

But earlier in the day Burke, who has a job with a national voice and data provider firm in Plymouth, said from his business background, he would suggest that before dissolving an agreement, there be a new agreement worked out by all the involved parties first.

Burke, in fact, called the agreement a contract, and pointed to the section that deals with modifying or terminating it. It states: “This agreement shall remain in effect for one year from the last date of party execution below and renew automatically every year unless a party provides written notice or withdrawal to each party at least 90 days prior to the end of the one-year period.”

Burke said he interprets that section to mean that without having given that notification to all the involved parties, the agreement is still in effect. (See story on Page 1).

Burke, meanwhile, has lobbed the ball to the city about the communication end.

He wrote in an e-mail to the city: “Although I’m unsure if I can attend the next city council meeting, I would, however, like to invite anyone from the city who might be interested, to attend the next Princeton Jaycees meeting at Northern Attitudes on March 5, 2012, at 7 p.m.”