Local News

Some Sports Leagues Pay Higher Field Fees Than Others

Posted July 12, 2005 5:40 a.m. EDT

— An athletic field fight in the Capital City is taking a new turn as some leagues, which fought for better access to public fields, say they are being charged too much.

First, there were concerns over the Capital Area Soccer League getting too much play on city fields. In an effort to fix that problem, some sports leagues say the city of Raleigh created another.

Non-profit and civic organizations now get first choice on athletic fields and pay a $15 hourly rate to use them.

For-profit groups, such as the Tri Sports Social Club, are required to pay the hourly rate and 25 percent of its registration fee. For 6,000 members, that amounts to an additional $5,000 Tri Sports must pay the city.

The club's owner, Dan Lefebvre, says even without the registration fee kickback, it is hard to stay in the game.

"We already are the lowest on the priority list," Lefebvre said. "We use the fields that no one else wants to use at the times no one else uses them. I think that's enough."

Mayor Charles Meeker agrees.

"These are our people," Meeker said. "Why should we treat them differently just because they are for-profit instead of a church league?"

But the city manager and members of a committee who studied the fee structure believe Raleigh should share the league's rewards.

"Remember, this is a for-profit business using city property and we all started on this because there was not enough city property available for all citizens," said Wayne Marshall, of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

The City Council committee studying the issue put off a decision for two weeks so it can see how other cities handle it.

Tri Sports say if the registration fee percentage is still required, its members will likely start playing outside city limits.