Amateur teams get hit hardest
Royals, Blues and Roadrunners face fees that could more than triple
By Troy Young
The Rochester Park and Recreation Board will vote at a meeting next month on a plan that will increase facility user fees for adult and youth baseball programs.
At a meeting earlier this week, the board discussed user fee increases for Mayo Field and Hudson Field, as well as the UCR complex, the older Rochester Community and Technical College fields, and the Mayo High School field.
Under that proposal, the rent for Mayo Field, Rochester's top baseball facility, would be $100 per game for adult baseball teams, and $50 for high schools, American Legion and VFW teams.
The cost for Hudson Field, Rochester's other lit, irrigated baseball park, would be $80 per game for adult teams, $40 for high schools, Legion and VFW.
If youth teams play at Mayo or Hudson, each player also will be charged a one-time $10 player-participation fee, regardless of whether their team plays one or 10 games at one of the two facilities. A player that plays high school in the spring and Legion in the summer at Mayo or Hudson would be charged the $10 fee twice.
The cost for using the UCR, RCTC and Mayo High baseball fields would be $25. There would be no $10 player-participation fee at those fields.
"The youth are only paying to use the two premium fields -- Mayo or Hudson," said Denny Stotz, assistant superintendent at Rochester Park and Rec.
Given state and local budget issues, Rochester baseball teams were made aware there would be user fee increases for facilities in 2004. Teams must pay more if they want to play at the finer city facilities, Stotz said.
"It helps us in our goal to maintain a facility at the same level they're maintained right now," Stotz said. "In our meetings with the user groups, none of the user groups were interested in lowering the standards for the way we care for the game facilities."
Hardest hit from the potential fee hikes would be the adult amateur teams -- the Royals, the Blues and the Roadrunners. Those teams currently play at Mayo Field for $30 rent. That cost would increase by 233 percent next summer.
"A 233-percent increase is definitely going to cause some budget issues for us," Royals manager Jeff Milene said. "It's unaffordable."
The Roadrunners face similar issues. They might play more games at cheaper facilities next season.
"We'll either have to do some fund-raising to play on Mayo or Hudson or we'll have to play our games at the other fields," Roadrunners manager Bernie Carlson said. "I'd like to think we're going to have a team next year, but it's something we'll definitely have to discuss."
Said Stotz: "We're hoping not to eliminate anybody that wants to play. And that's why some of the facilities have stayed the same or slightly risen. But the lipped, irrigated, highly maintained facilities -- that's where the fees went up."
Milene said he understands an increase at some level but would like opportunities made available for his teams to generate more revenue.
"If they're going to raise the rent 233 percent, we need some way to raise money besides raising ticket prices," Milene said. "A 233-percent increase in fees is not going to allow both of our teams to play at Mayo Field unless we are given some of the same revenue opportunities that the (Rochester) Honkers are given, like outfield signage and luxury box usage."
The Park and Rec. board's next meeting is Aug. 5.