The fees charged to high school baseball teams for use of ball fields at the White Township Recreation Complex’s S&T Bank Arena are fair in light of the costs to maintain them and there is no need to reduce the fee or offer discounted rate at indoor facilities as a trade-off, according to a township official.
The complex’s recreation manager, Ryan Shaffer, reported at Wednesday’s supervisors meeting that he determined the fees were fair after an investigation into costs of maintenance prompted by a request last month from the Indiana Baseball Boosters at of Indiana Area High School for free “turf time.”
The Boosters sought free or reduced “turf time” — time indoors, in this case, on AstroTurf laid out on top of the complex’s ice rink — for their varsity and junior varsity players to use in the off-season.
The reasoning behind the request was that such a reduction would offset what is paid for use of the outdoor fields.
Representatives of the group believed those costs to be on the high side.
The group presented the request at the supervisors’ December meeting, claiming there was a disparity in costs between the $4,500 paid seasonally for the fields and what other teams paid at other fields.
Shaffer, along with township manager Milt Lady, countered that the costs are equivalent to what is spent in manpower and materials to maintain the fields.
At last month’s meeting, supervisors asked Shaffer to look into the fees and determine whether they were equivalent to the costs of maintaining and preparing the fields for the boosters.
Shaffer told the supervisors Wednesday that investigation into the costs showed they were about equal to what was charged to the boosters organization.
“I really feel that we’re giving them a good product for the price they’re getting,” he said.
Shaffer also told officials that he found the costs of turf time at other facilities exceeded what the recreation complex charges.
For example, he noted, Pittsburgh’s Island Sportsplex charges $300 an hour for use of its indoor AstroTurf area.
The recreation complex in White Township charges $75 an hour.
Indiana Area High School athletic department administrations, according to Shaffer, had no problems with the fees charged for use of the complex’s facilities.
“As far as the administration goes,” he said, “they don’t have any complaints. The administration’s happy with it.”
The supervisors asked Shaffer to send a letter to the boosters club explaining his findings.
He said after the meeting that, in addition to sending the letter, he had also already reported the cost estimate findings to the boosters.