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Seniors pickup softball group told their 16-year free ride for ball diamond time is over

City of Kingston says Softball 55 no different than any other user group

February 12, 2024  By Turf & Rec



A Kingston, Ont. senior citizens’ softball group, that has been playing pickup games on empty city ball diamonds the past 16 summers, is now being told to pay to play.

The group, called Softball 55, has been playing on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Cloverdale Park during the daytime when the diamonds aren’t booked. The founder of Softball 55 says it’s not a formal user group, but represents a social outing for participants older than 55 who show up to play. On most days, between 35 and 40 individuals turn out to play. Depending on the number of seniors who wish to play, one or two diamonds may be utilized.

The city now wants the group to pay more than $6,100 to use two diamonds at the park twice a week. Softball 55 argues they target times of the day to play when the diamonds aren’t being used, and rake the infield after games to ensure conditions are maintained. Group volunteers also pick up garbage left behind from the previous evening’s games played by user groups. The city, however, suggests the group pay its share of fees needed to maintain the diamonds on a regular basis.

Softball 55 originally found itself in trouble last October as it was wrapping up its season. As a game was nearing completion, a city employee pulled over to reprimand the group for being on the field.

The fee – $6,140.80 – the city wishes to charge the group this season also covers insurance. A spokesman for Softball 55 said the fee equates to $173 a person based on 40 players – a charge that will result in the loss of about half the regular players who claim it’s not affordable.

 

This article is part of the Municipalities Week.

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