The Woodward News

Local News

August 21, 2012

Commissioners, Kids, Inc. discuss issues

Woodward, Okla. — Although they denied a user agreement proposed by the Kid's Inc. board for use of the ball fields at Crystal Beach Park, Woodward City Commissioners said they still want to work with the youth sports organization.

In fact, in a show of support for the organization, Commissioner Steve Bogdahn said he would favor eliminating a $10,000 annual fee that Kid's Inc. had been paying to help offset utility costs at the facilities it used.

Under the user agreement proposed by Kid's Inc. this $10,000 fee would have become the annual rent paid for the use of the facilities.

However, city commissioners made it clear that they don't believe in "pay for play" and never intended to do anything to make Kid's Inc. think the city wanted them to start charging children to participate in its sports programs.

That's why the city has only ever charged Kid's Inc. a lease rate of $1 per year to utilize the ball fields at Crystal Beach Park, Commissioner Gary Goetzinger said.  That is the same minimal rate charged for any non-profit wanting to utilize city venues.

"The city of Woodward is never going to charge Kid's Inc. to rent the fields or pay for play or any of that stuff," Goetzinger said.

As for the $10,000 utility payment, City Manager Alan Riffel said that was something Kid's Inc. had volunteered to pay years ago when the city was going through difficult financial times.

However, now that the city is in better financial shape, Riffel said those utility payments are "no longer necessary."

"If there is a bone of contention over any part of this $10,000 at all, I think it would behoove the city to forgive that in the future," Riffel said.

Bogdahn said he agreed, noting "I'd like to see that thrown out" because he felt the money could be better used to purchase equipment and supplies to support Kid's Inc. programs.

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