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Local sports team’s future uncertain after fees rise at Arroyo Grande sports complex

Posted at 6:41 PM, Sep 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-04 21:41:34-04

A local youth softball team says its future is uncertain because team members are facing a $10,000 fee to be bale to keep playing on their home field.

Five Cities Girls Softball caters to girls ages four to 18.

"It keeps a lot of girls in our organization out of trouble, troubled homes, they’re out on the streets, this is their outlet and I’d hate to see that go away," said Melody Avant, President of Five Cities Girls Softball.

Since its foundation, youth softball players have practiced at Soto Sports Complex, owned by the City of Arroyo Grande.

"It’s been a relaxed charge on the fields the last few years," Avant said.

But now, the city is asking organizations to pay up.

"They’ve presented us an invoice to back pay and basically told us it’s due immediately and we will not be able to use the fields until it’s paid," Avant said. "Being a non-profit, we had to dig deep to pay them off so we can use the fields. It diminished the entire funds."

Arroyo Grande City Manager Jim Bergman says the Soto Sports Complex is operating at a $250,000 deficit because of budget constraints.

"There’s a real cost to keep up a facility like this and we spend over $200,000 a year keeping these facilities up," Bergman said.

Between field prep and field rental costs, recreation service fees increased 10-36 percent.

2017/2018

2018/2019

Fee

Field Rental

$2/hour

$3/hour

Concession Stand Fee

$5/hour

$6/hour

Non-Resident Fee

$2/player

$3/player

Field Prep

$20-35

$61-91

"Raising the rates from $2 an hour to $3 an hour, that’s still a pretty great thing we have these facilities here for and these assets for everyone to keep living the good life here," Bergman said.

For the 2017-18 fiscal year, city planners collected nearly $42,500 in past-due recreational fees.

Five Cities Girls Softball will now have to decide if they will pass costs on to their players or find another field.

"Passing on that type of fee to them is a big deal," Avant said.

Five Cities Girls Softball has set up a GoFundMe page to help with their $10,000 goal.