Youth baseball clubs oppose Oshkosh athletic facility fee

Oshkosh athletic field

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) – A number of youth baseball clubs in Oshkosh are voicing concerns about a city plan to start charging groups who use its athletic facilities.

On Monday night the proposal went before the Parks Advisory Committee.

To address a growing demand for its baseball and softball fields, the Oshkosh Parks Advisory Committee is considering a fee system that would charge groups to reserve time whether it’s for a game or to practice.

“Essentially if you want to reserve a ball diamond for your exclusive use or your use for an athletic event you’re taking it away from the other general public or the neighborhood to use that, so there’s some type of charge at least nominal that should go with that,” said Oshkosh Parks Director Ray Maurer.

Parks Director Ray Maurer says the fee system imposed would resemble those used in other nearby communities.

Groups would pay $10 an hour, plus extra for lights and field prep work.

It’s expected to raise as much as $10,000 dollars per year.

However, the money would go into a general fund — and some of the groups say that’s not fair.

Garret Alford of Oshkosh Youth Baseball said, “All of the parks with the exception of Red Arrow, which we have put $50,000 into over the past couple of years, were rated in between unsafe and below average conditions.”

Chris Bendickson of Oshkosh North Baseball was also at the meeting.

He added, “I understand that we have to help each other here to upgrade some of these facilities, but when we hear of these costs and they’re not going directly back into those parks it’s a hard one to swallow.”

The Parks Advisory Board did not take action on the issue, but they did recommend that a workshop be held within the next month to get feedback on the fees.