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Financial Field Fight May Cost Young Athletes More To Play

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jason Allen
Jason came to North Texas after working as a reporter for four y...
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KELLER (CBS 11 NEWS) - A financial battle over athletic field costs in Keller may end with families in two cities paying more to play. Fort Worth notified Keller this week that it won’t chip in for maintenance costs for its resident’s use of the Keller Sports Park. It may force Keller to charge maintenance fees to all users, including its own residents, in order to keep the fields up.

The Keller Youth Sports Association, the non-profit that runs many of the sports programs that use the fields, told city council members Tuesday night it could support a $10 maintenance fee for all participants. Non-residents would potentially pay another $20 fee.

The goal is to make up some of the $350,000 in maintenance costs Keller had proposed Fort Worth pay. The number is just less than half of the annual maintenance costs for the park. Keller arrived at the number because it says surveys showed nearly half the participants in programs at the park, actually live in Fort Worth.

Last month Keller proposed charging non-residents as much as $106 per person in maintenance costs if Fort Worth failed to chip in. KYA director Whit Green however told Keller officials in meetings that the amount would force families to leave the sports programs.

“If they go to that, you’re just doing a prohibitive fee,” he said. “You’re just saying no non-Keller resident would participate.”

Green said he talked to many people in each city, who were willing to pay a smaller fee.

Keller officials though were hesitant to charge residents more. Keller residents already pay about $18 per person in taxes to support the fields. Mayor Pat McGrail said they shouldn’t be expected to pay more.

“I think Fort Worth needs to step up,” he said. “And if they don’t want to step up for their residents, then their residents are going to have to bear the costs.”

Some parents at the sports park Tuesday, including Keller residents, said they were willing to pay an additional fee if I protected the quality of the youth programs.

Kelli Cheever , who had a son practicing football at the park, said she would’t want the issue to discourage force families to leave the league.

“I think so as long as they have Keller and Fort Worth residents do it together,” she said. “I don’t think it’s fair for just Fort Worth guys.”

City officials did not make a final decision on the fee structure Tuesday. They were hoping to start collecting the money by the fall, but the registration period for fall sports has already started, making a new fee structure for next spring more likely.

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