City committee discusses ball field maintenance contract
School district likes price, but favors 5-year agreement
BY KEVIN BONESKE
The price is right for the School District of Rhinelander to enter into a contract with the city of Rhinelander to use the city’s ball fields at Pioneer Park, Hodag Park and West Park, but the district wants an agreement to extend beyond next year.
The city’s Parks, Buildings and Grounds Committee discussed a possible one-year contract with the school district at Monday’s meeting with district activities director Brian Paulson present.
Committee chairperson Sherrie Belliveau said a flat fee of $1,525 for the 2017 softball and baseball season did not take into account the city’s expense for mowing the fields, which would have to be done whether or not they would be used by the school district.
“I think absolutely the prices were fair,” said Paulson, who noted the amount of the contract was reached through recent negotiations between the city and school district.
The school district this past spring used Hodag Park for baseball games and Pioneer Park to play softball games. Paulson said “a lot of fill” would have to be hauled in to have ball fields behind the high school, where the ground is wet in the spring. He noted the district would like to make a long-term commitment to use the city’s fields.
“With that being said, we’re on board with the price, but we’re asking for a five-year commitment for a long-term plan,” Paulson said. “After four years, we will ask to renew the plan for the following years.”
Earlier this year, a proposal backed by supporters of constructing a second softball field at Pioneer Park, where boards for an ice rink used to be located, brought to light that the school district didn’t have a current written agreement with the city for using the existing softball field, though the district was still paying the city a fee for each time a game was held there, with the last contract in effect for 2003.
Paulson said raising the fee to $1,525 annually for the district to use the city’s ball fields is “substantially a nice increase.”
“It is justified, but I feel like we’re meeting some of your needs,” he said. “I’m hoping you’ll work with us on a five-year plan.”
When asked by Belliveau as to possible annual increases in the city’s expenses to maintain and set up the fields for use by the district under a five-year agreement, Paulson suggested reviewing the $1,525 yearly flat fee in the event those expenses rose above 5 percent annually.
“We’re only going to review this amount if there would be that substantial of an increase,” Paulson said. “So, if it’s below that, we wouldn’t come back to the table.”
Committee members then agreed to refer the proposed agreement to city attorney Carrie Miljevich to put together a multi-year contract.