Encinitas Little League offers field proposal

Encinitas Little League offers field proposal
The Encinitas Little League announces a proposal Tuesday morning that would keep most of its baseball programs at the Magdalena YMCA, yet allow for the YMCA to do some expansion work over the next few years. File photo

ENCINITAS — The Encinitas Little League has proposed a compromise that would keep most of its baseball programs at the Magdalena YMCA, yet allow for the YMCA to do some expansion work over the next few years.

Encinitas Little League announced its proposal Tuesday morning, and said the organization had submitted it to the city and the YMCA, the other organizations involved in the longstanding field lease.

Under the proposed agreement, the City and the YMCA would remove a 30-day termination clause, which has been the source of contention with Little League officials, and allow for youth sports to continue on three of the four ball fields until 2024. In exchange, Little League would relocate all the games from its Junior program to the brand new Encinitas Community Park.

“The proposal was not dreamed up by ELL—it is based on some information provided by the YMCA as to a plan they might be considering and has been identified as an option by the City of Encinitas following a City wide field inventory,” the Little League’s board of directors wrote in the proposal.  “The proposal is also an effort to compromise by ELL—for example ELL, Encinitas Soccer and others are harmed by the proposed loss of field 1. However, if agreed to, the YMCA will have a sizeable contiguous piece of Ecke Sports Park for expansion, the City will save significant funds as maintenance and lighting costs for field 1 will be eliminated, and ELL, other youth sports leagues and other users will be guaranteed the use of the remaining, lighted Ecke Sports Park fields through at least 2024, and hopefully beyond, at their historical home base.”

The Little League has called the fields home since 1960, but the first lease arrangement between the city, Little League and the YMCA dates back to 1989, which allowed the city to reconstruct the fields and maintain them in exchange for priority for its sports programs to use the fields. The Little League has historically had the highest priority due to its historical ties to the Saxony Road fields.

In addition to Little League, adult softball, youth soccer and the YMCA’s sports programs all use the fields.

The city and YMCA agreed to a 10-year extension of the league last fall, but shortly thereafter supporters of the little league discovered the termination clause, which, combined with the YMCA executive director’s comments about pending expansion plans that could impact the fields, caused supporters to express concern the league could be displaced without a home.

“Thirty days isn’t time enough for us to pack up our kids and move,” said Joe Corder, who recently spoke at a council meeting asking the council to eliminate the clause from the contract. “All we want to do is save the fields.”

The YMCA has guaranteed the league use of the field through the 2015 season.

“Although 2015 usage has been assured, ELL continues to worry, on a daily basis, about the 30 day termination clause and ongoing uncertainty about the future. ELL wants to proactively solve the problem,” according to the league’s statement.

The Little League is asking for people to support the proposal by signing a petition it will have on its website shortly.

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