TRAVERSE CITY — American Legion junior baseball fans rallied for their team over worries that a new Grand Traverse County field rental policy could hamper the decades-old program.
Members of the county’s Parks and Recreation Commission eventually addressed most American Legion supporters’ concerns during a lengthy and convoluted conversation at a parks board meeting last week. American Legion officials said everything seems in order to continue the popular baseball program next summer.
“Overall, we’re OK with it,” American Legion junior baseball field director Rick Fowler said of the new policy. “They’re trying to do their job and we are trying to do ours.”
Parks and Recreation Director Jason Jones said several other organizations asked about renting the Grand Traverse County Civic Center fields -- the longtime home of the American Legion youth program and Grand Traverse YMCA adult softball leagues -- for weekend softball tournaments next summer.
The increased rental interest prompted Jones to propose a policy that would allow groups to reserve Civic Center fields for the upcoming year on a “first-come, first-served basis” starting in October, the proposed policy states. Reservations would require a 25-percent non-refundable deposit.
American Legion supporters, including several parks board members, said they worried other groups would reserve field space before the American Legion and the YMCA could submit rental applications.
Fowler said some American Legion officials originally were skeptical of the rental policy in light of past dealings with the county.
The county commission in 2010 voted to run its own baseball program after problems with American Legion’s baseball operations the previous year and a push by the county’s parks board and director to manage programs instead of just managing parks. The county commission then asked the American Legion to resume youth baseball at the Civic Center one year later.