Field Fight: Keller May Charge FW Kids To Use Ball Fields
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KELLER (CBS 11 NEWS) – The price some north Fort Worth families pay for youth sports could double as soon as this fall. Any Fort Worth residents who play on athletic fields in Keller could be subject to a $106 fee, the possible end result of a battle over park and athletic field space between the two cities.
City managers met last week, in an effort to come to an agreement over maintenance costs for the Keller Sports Park. Neither side has budged yet though ahead of a May 7 deadline Keller set for making a decision.
The fee would come in place of Fort Worth’s refusal, so far, to pay Keller 47-percent of the maintenance fees and debt service for the Keller Sports Park. It’s a number Keller arrived at after determining 47-percent of the users at the 130-acre park, are Fort Worth residents. It amounts to $351,226 in maintenance fees and $39,064 for the debt.
Fort Worth has just one athletic field, an unlined, unlit softball field for the more than 100,000 residents on its fast growing north side. Thousands of residents drive to neighboring Keller to participate in recreational athletic programs.
Fort Worth took two months to respond to the proposal, but in a letter this month, assistant city manager Susan Alanis said her staff had not presented the idea to the City Council. Instead she offered ideas for other ways the city could recover its costs and offered the Fort Worth Zoo as an example of an amenity Fort Worth taxpayers cover and other cities enjoy.
The letter prompted a strong reaction from Keller city council members, with councilman Doug Miller saying in a meeting that he would not be “bullied by the city of Fort Worth.”
John Harms, who is moving to Fort Worth and has two daughters playing softball in Keller, said it would be enough to force him to take them somewhere else.
“Whenever you consider your leagues are around $100 and now all of a sudden this one’s going to be $200 cause I live in Fort Worth? It just doesn’t make sense, he said. “We’ll just play somewhere else.”