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A poster at Galt Sports Complex seeks softball umpires. Parks and Recreation Commission members are considering how to fairly distribute time at city ball diamonds like those at the complex.

Galt Parks and Recreation Commission members have a complex issue on their hands as they consider how to fairly divvy up practice time at the city’s softball and baseball facilities. Parks and Recreation Director Armando Solis presented to the commissioners on March 8 about the factors involved and asked them to come back with recommendations that could ultimately go before City Council.

Competitive youth softball and baseball groups in the city have said they are not being allotted a fair amount of time at city facilities compared to Galt Youth Baseball (GYB), which has scheduling priority at certain ball diamonds.

Solis said the city and the groups involved, including competitive programs Lickity Split Softball and American Made Baseball, had reached a temporary agreement in February. But he noted that a more permanent solution is needed.

“That fixed the problem for the moment. We’re talking next February, where we need to get something in place … so we do know which rule to follow,” Solis said.

Lickity Split President Misty Springmeyer said her group has had difficulty scheduling practice times and is being held to a higher standard than GYB. She later noted that the meeting with staff had taken several weeks to organize.

“We don’t feel it’s necessary for one organization in town to monopolize the fields,” she told commissioners.

Solis went over the city’s various softball and baseball facilities, which are located at Galt Sports Complex, Galt Community Parks, Veteran’s Soccer Field and Robert L. McCaffrey Middle School, as well as Harvey, Meadowview, and Walker Community parks. He noted that baseball can be generally played on a softball diamond, but softball cannot be played on a baseball diamond.

Solis said staff has an unofficial hierarchy for distributing play times, with the city’s parks and rec programs getting top priority. Next are the groups that have contracts with the city, including GYB and the Galt school districts, followed by recreational youth programs. Then come competitive youth programs, like Lickity Split. Last are private rentals.

Under GYB’s memorandum of understanding with the city, the organization took over the city’s softball programs and received scheduling priority at Harvey and Meadowview parks. Council considered a proposal last year to give the group priority at the Galt Sports Complex as well as “semi-exclusive” use of Harvey and Meadowview. When Lickity Split members turned out to object, Council rejected the plan and called for the negotiations that happened in February.

Commissioners asked questions about the situation, particularly about the meaning of the contracts with GYB and Galt Joint Union High School District. It was noted that a solution specific to one group, like Lickity Split, might not account for new sports groups that start in the future. Solis said he would provide the commissioners with contact information for leaders of the sports groups so that they could get more perspective.

The commission will discuss the issue again at its next meeting on May 10.

Solis also went over projects his department plans to propose for funds remaining in the city’s grant from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The proposal includes a request for $650,000 to modernize the city’s skate park, as well as $225,000 to replace the water slide at the Gora Aquatic Center.