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Ludlow Considers Fees for Sports Teams to Use City Fields

The City of Ludlow may soon be charging to use its athletics fields.

Some residents and members council don't want that.

"For our kids?," Paula Grazsus asked incredulously.

Police Chief Scott Smith explained how an ad hoc committee was created to look into how other parks are run so that Ludlow can craft a more efficient park board and park ordinance. It investigated cities like Erlanger and Independence and found out that each team in a given league is charged a certain amount by the city that is only spent for field maintenance and parks.

The fee can vary, and Councilman Matt Williams told the audience that they were trying to fix the fee for the Ludlow teams at $5 a head for the players to minimize the cost.

John Grazsus has been in youth baseball for 27 years and said that he couldn't believe that council was considering charging the teams.

"We pay nothing to any field," he said, "for any field use at all."

He went on to say that the Crosstown League has 112 teams, and they have used three fields in Newport for no charge and schedule teams for Covington's fields which they use for no cost. He said that adult teams pay a fee, but youth teams pay nothing.

"We don't want any kid to pay," said Williams.  

Councilman Jordan Scheid said they would need a way to maintain the fields, and this was a way several other cities accomplished that task.

"Why put the squeeze on organizations that would have trouble paying it?," asked Councilman Josh Boone. He said that he might be able to see outside teams having to pay the fee, but said that residents pay taxes - maybe not enough - but residents tend to feel their taxes entitle them to use the park.

Paula Grazsus said that they only have two teams in Ludlow, the Ludlow Athletic Club and the Ludlow Youth Football club, and children who are on those teams either live in the city or go to Ludlow schools.

Chief Smith said that in Erlanger, for instance, they don't care where the players come from. The charge to each player is expected up front and then the league pays the fee.

John Grazsus  said  that the only money the teams pay is a small amount that covers umpire fees and those for tee shirts and trophies in the end of season tournament. Paula Grazsus said there are usually children who can't afford to play and they pay the fees for them so that all children who want to play can.

City Administrator Elisha Chamberlain explained that the city is looking at multiple other cities for a variety of issues, and trying to come up with things that fit the city of Ludlow. She is still hoping that the city can have a park board and a park ordinance in place in about a month.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor