Playing Hardball With Softball

If you want to bring alcohol, you have to play ball with the city.

Existing and new laws regarding event fees will present some new scenarios for softball players this summer at Betts Park.

City of Warren ordinance number 1803, adopted in June 2011, outlines rules for city park usage.

Under the ordinance, “Alcohol is prohibited from all city park, recreation and conservation areas with the exception of Betts Park in which case alcohol shall be permitted only in designated areas for such use by the event permit and which will not interfere with the general use of the park by the public.”

In other words, no alcohol in any park except Betts, and then only with a permit. Under the ordinance, alcohol policy was governed under special event permits.

If you’ve had alcohol in Betts Park since June 2011 without an event permit specifically allowing it, technically, you were breaking the law.

As part of the city’s new fee schedule, passed in December 2012, alcohol permits became a separate item from event permits. However, a requirement of the alcohol permit is that it be issued in conjunction with a special event permit or a pavilion rental. The alcohol permit costs $100 in addition to event permitting.

The fee schedule also provides user fees for ballfields.

League use of ballfields at Betts costs $35 per team for the year while rental for a tournament costs $150 per day.

In addition, there is a $100 special event permit fee. A year of league play is considered a single special event.

So, for example, a ten-team league would be required to pay $35 per team for field rental, or $350; a $100 special event permit fee for the year and, if they wanted to have alcohol, a $100 alcohol permit fee; totaling $550. If they opted to have a Saturday and Sunday year-end tournament as well it would cost $150 per day, or $300 for both days; $100 for a special event permit fee and $100 for an alcohol permit fee; an additional total of $500. So it would cost $550 for season play and an additional $500 if they wanted to have a two-day playoff tournament, a total of $1,550.

However, league organizers are planning on seeking city approval for end-of-year tournaments as part of single event league season play, according to Jason Harkins, who helps organize Sunday league play.

Throughout the season, the league plays Sundays. However, the league also holds a tournament at the beginning and end of the year. According to Harkins, the league is planning to hold the tournaments on consecutive Sundays and include the days as part of the application for the regular league season.

“If we have to pay the extra fees for the tournament, we might cancel them or have to raise our fees,” Harkins said. “We don’t want to lose teams either.”

For a stand-alone tournament, it would cost $150 per day for rental of field(s), $100 for a special event permit and $100 for an alcohol permit.

In the instance of a two-day tournament, again, costs would total $500 for the two days.

Half-day field rentals are pro-rated, so a two and a half day tournament like the Industrial Tournament will cost $650; $150 field rental for each full day, $75 for the half day, $100 for the event permit and $100 or the alcohol permit.