15 Sep 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by spoiled_meli_pie

Turko Talks Baseball, Sports Park 'Outsourcing' to YMCA

KUSI News' Michael Turko interviewed Imperial Beach Little League officials and Mayor Jim Janney about a deal currently being negotiated to possibly hand control of the Imperial Beach Sports Park and Recreation Center to the YMCA.

Turko Talks Baseball, Sports Park 'Outsourcing' to YMCA

A fight over whether the YMCA takes over the Imperial Beach Sports Park and Recreation Center landed on KUSI News' Turko Files Tuesday evening following an Imperial Beach Little League (IBLL) meeting last night that attracted "more angry parents than you see at most Imperial Beach City Council meetings."

On Monday, IB Patch asked Imperial Beach City Council candidates what they would do with the Sports Park if elected.

KUSI called the plan "outsourcing" and Turko began the segment by saying, "You don't mess with little kids and baseball. It's just an untouchable thing."

IBLL president Don Spicer told Turko baseball and softball leagues that use the four fields next to the Sports Park spend more than $20,000 maintaining the facilities and that the leagues have always had a free-use agreement with the city that may change if the YMCA takes over.

Mayor Jim Janney told Turko the city doesn't have the assets to pay for both the Sports Park and core functions like public safety and that adult leagues may help offset costs to the youth leagues.

Turko said the YMCA doesn't manage baseball leagues and the amount of money adult leagues may make is unknown.

The plan to hand control of the facility to the YMCA would save the city about $200,000 a year, City Manager Gary Brown told IB Patch.

Click here to see full KUSI video.

"There appears to be an umbrella of secrecy with this negotiations process.  The city officials do not seem to be working for the best interest of the children of our community," Spicer wrote in a letter to IBLL members last week. "Families are losing their homes, jobs, hours of work are being cut and the cost of basic needs continue to rise. It is imperative that costs are kept affordable for our families."

Last month, IB Patch published a story about city negotiations with the YMCA. Shortly after, Sports Park employees and some teens that regularly use the facility urged the city to scrap the plans and establish a committee made up of local residents to help make decisions about youth activity in IB.

What do you think about plans for a YMCA takeover of the facility? Should any agreement made allow baseball and softball leagues the same free use they have enjoyed in the past? Is it unreasonable to ask baseball and softball leagues to pay? Share in comments.

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