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Local News

March 4, 2014

Oneonta's softball league gets a reprieve

A professional softball umpire and a college senior have stepped up to the plate to secure the future of Oneonta’s adult softball league.

The Oneonta Parks and Recreation Commission approved a proposal Monday night made by Louie Barnes and Eric Scheer to run the league for men’s and women’s teams this summer.

“This league has been around forever,” Barnes of Oneonta said. “There’s absolutely no reason not to try to keep this going.”

The proposal, which is among several efforts underway as the city transitions out of providing recreation programs, next goes to the Common Council’s Community Improvement Committee for review before consideration by the full council.

Barnes, a softball umpire, has been involved with the league for more than 40 years, and Scheer, a SUNY Oneonta student, has taken part in the program for seven years, including working for the city during the summer as a scorekeeper. Barnes said they would organize the league and run the program, which is about 10 weeks long, at no charge to the city.

However, Barnes told commissioners he was concerned about costs to run the program and how much teams would be paying. This year, teams would be charged $600, which includes at estimated $100 for insurance and a $100 bond in case a team forfeits a game.

As part of the proposal, Barnes asked the commission to waive the field-use fee, and commissioners supported the request.

Tim Catella, commission chairman, said waiving the fee, which is $50 a day, is a productive first step during the transition. The city wants to do all it can to maintain quality playing fields and support efforts to continue the adult softball league, Catella said.

“Instead of being a city-run league,” he said, “it will be an independently run league.”

Oneonta city officials and Common Council members in recent months have debated the municipality’s role of providing recreational programs that attract a significant number of participants living outside city boundaries.

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