Jaycees to pay softball park fees

The issue that arose over the Princeton City Council deciding last December to charge $5 per youth to use the softball fields at Mark Park has completed a full circle with the latest development involving the Jaycees.

Princeton Superintendent Rick Lahn announced at the March 13 school board meeting that the Princeton Jaycees will pay the $5 per player fee that the city would otherwise charge the school district for each high school softball player. Jaycees president Adam Burke had given the offer to Lahn.

Lahn called the Jaycees’ offer “generous,” one the school district is accepting. Forty-three Princeton High School girls are out for softball this school year so the Jaycees donation this spring would be $215.

Lahn expressed unhappiness over the $5 per player fee at the Feb. 2 city council meeting when the council rescinded a 2009 contract that involved the school district, city, the Jaycees and the Princeton softball association. It was an agreement on the maintenance of the Mark Park athletic facilities, which would include its ball fields. Council members noted that it had to terminate the old contract due to the expiration of a joint powers agreement the contract was based on, and would now negotiate a new maintenance agreement.

The council had set fees last December for use of Mark Park’s three softball fields at the recommendation of the city park board. Besides the $5 per youth player per season, the council also set a menu of fees for non youth softball playing.

Lahn told the council on Feb. 2 that he had the understanding that with all the money the district was putting into the maintenance of facilities at Mark Park, the district wouldn’t be charged any fees for using the park. Charging the district these fees is unacceptable, Lahn had said, but later said something could be worked out.

City park board member Todd Frederick explained during a city discussion with the school district that the grass was getting pretty worn on the softball fields. The park board therefore thought that a user fee was needed to help restore it to proper condition, he explained.