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A thorough discussion of past agreements, understandings and misunderstandings between the city and the Softball Association’s use of a City Park ball field was resolved May 1 with some changes in agreement wording and a promise to work out fencing responsibilities by next season.

Last year’s agreement with the association was not signed because it never reached the proper people. Over the years agreements were worked out on the various leagues being covered under the city’s insurance umbrella and their responsibility to inform pet owners that no dogs are allowed in City Park but not be required to take any enforcement measures. Softball Association spokesperson Jamie Bockelman told the Salmon City Council she was under the impression fencing repair and maintenance issues had also been resolved by way of a shared responsibility between ball field users and the city. This year’s agreement, which is the same as last year’s but not seen or signed last year, requires the league to foot fencing repair costs even though as she pointed out there has never been a written contract agreement to that effect.

She stated the Softball group has spent $3500 on fencing in the past and does not have the funds to do more. It was suggested at the April 17 council meeting that the association approach the Local Option Tax Commission for funding. League members have rejected that idea because they don’t think it should be up to them alone to make the repairs especially since, according to them, much of the damage at issue is caused when city mowers catch and tear the bottom of the chain link along the outfield.

Ms. Bockelman said the group is willing to co-operate in a share of the needed fencing work but will not accept the entire responsibility.

Based on all the input from the 50 minute discussion City Attorney Fred Snook resolved the situation by suggesting this year’s use and maintenance of the baseball field agreement between the city and the association be changed to read, “…the association will maintain ‘in an as-is condition’ bleachers, scoreboards, fences and dugouts.”

Jamie Bockelman said that would be fine with the understanding that there would eventually be a safe playing field with no damaged fences that could potentially cause injuries.

The council approved amending the agreement to read as recommended. It also amended the agreement to read ‘softball’ field, not baseball field. The rewrite, once approved, will allow the Softball Association to proceed into its season and give the city time to reach an equitable arrangement for next year which will take mower damages into consideration.

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