Reynoldsburg City Council has agreed to allow the Columbus Clippers organization to use four city fields at Huber Park for a youth baseball program, in return for a portion of players' registration fees.
Council members voted unanimously in a special meeting Monday, Feb. 3, to approve the agreement between the city and the Clippers as emergency legislation.
City Attorney Jed Hood said the agreement gives the Central Ohio Clippers Organization (COCO) "non-exclusive" use of four fields at Huber Park for the 2014 fall season.
In addition to paying the city various per-player fees, the agreement states that the Clippers organization will work with Reynoldsburg to plan the development of additional fields and will obtain scoreboards, fencing and dugouts for the fields.
"We are giving them access to the fields and we get a portion of tournament and sponsor fees for the city," he said.
Councilman Mel Clemens wanted to know why the legislation for the agreement had to be passed as an emergency. He said he was also concerned about COCO's fencing requirements.
"It is my understanding the Clippers need to know that they have a home in the fall for their travel teams," Hood said. "We will retain control over any new fencing, but they are going to fund it. We will have final say in the scope of the fencing."
The agreement states the baseball organization has agreed to make improvements to the fields for future use, "with the goal being to build and maintain the most modern travel baseball complex in central Ohio."
The city will receive $30 per player, per team during the first year of the agreement and if it is extended for a second year or more, the city will receive $40 per player, per team.
According to the agreement, two of the fields will be used for teams for ages 12 and younger and two fields will be used teams for ages 12 and older.
The city reserves the right to use the fields two days a week, if needed.
Reynoldsburg Parks and Recreation Department Director Joe Brown said last month that the Clippers organization has outgrown its current youth baseball site in Pataskala, which is why it wants to use fields at Huber Park.
Brown said the Clippers organization will start using the fields this spring and also will develop a fall travel baseball league that will use the fields from August through September -- and, weather permitting -- into October. He said Reynoldsburg Parks and Recreation teams will compete in the league under the Recreational Division.
For the fall baseball league, Reynoldsburg will be paid $15 per player per team and $30 per player per team in succeeding years.
For tournament play, the organization will pay rental fees to the city of $100 per field per day, plus a field-attendant fee of $150 per day, a $100 per vendor fee and a $250 refundable deposit seven days prior to each tournament.
Brown said teams could start practicing as early as possible in March and could start holding games in Huber Park as early as the end of March.
He said the Clippers organization will assist with the city-run youth baseball program by providing guidance and assistance where needed, such as offering coaching clinics. All banners displayed on the fields must be approved by the city.
The Clippers may also place one internal storage unit within 75 feet of the fields and will hold two or three open fundamental baseball camps or clinics per year.