WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — A big discussion in Walton County over who gets first dibs to play or practice on baseball and multi-use sports fields this fall.
The county passed a new allocation policy for field use, as well as discussed operating concession stands at the Oct. 4 meeting.
A new athletic field use and allocation policy lists the priority groups for how youth sports will work when it comes to using public fields.
1. Any county recreation program
2. Non-profit groups that allow anyone to play and don’t pay their staff
3. Walton County School District programs
These groups will be allocated up to 6 days per week.
4. A non-profit that does not allow everyone to play and pays staff.
5. For-profit teams or adult programs
6. Adult programs with less than 75% of Walton residents.
In the new policy, for-profit travel teams like the Canes Baseball organization will have to pay between $50-$250 to reserve fields. While South Walton Little League would get access for free.
“We’re willing to pay. We told Parks and Rec that we’re willing to pay, but if we’re paying, we want higher priority,” said Stephanie Campbell, Canes Baseball.
Another issue this fall has been the operation of concession stands.
South Walton Little League asked the County for a contract to operate the concession stands themselves using a vendor instead of searching for volunteers.
The county attorney said they can not allow any commercial activity on county property, and that would have to be an ordinance change for a future meeting.
In the meantime, the County said teams are allowed to bring pre-made vendor food into the concession stands as long as volunteers sell the food.
“They’d missed their kid’s ballgame to serve hotdogs and hamburgers. It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be tough. I’m not saying that it won’t happen, but it’s going to be hard,” said Erin Peterson, Little League Coach.
The baseball season ends on Nov. 11. The county said the concession stand solution decided at the Oct. 4 meeting will be reevaluated and changed for the spring season of youth sports.