Softball field pact a hit with school board

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A new five-year, six-season agreement for the Rome school district’s girls softball program to use the Kost Fields softball complex has gotten a go-ahead from the Board of Education to play ball.

The agreement with the Rome Girls Softball League (RGSL) for the facility near Bell Road, approved last week by the Board of Education, follows a one-year term approved in March 2018 that redefined the district’s longtime arrangements with the RGSL for field usage.

Under the latest agreement, a usage fee paid by the district for an annual March 1-June 30
period will be $15,000 for 2019 and gradually increase each year to $17,389 for 2024, said Assistant Superintendent for Operations and Management Robert Mezza Jr. The prior one-year agreement similarly included a $15,000 district payment to RGSL.

Mowing of the fields will be the RGSL’s responsibility, while the school district will be responsible for field preparation before all district games, Mezza added. Pre-game field preparation will include lining and dragging fields; addressing any water/mud issues caused by rain or snow; attaching bases; installing mounds at a correct distance.

Before the 2018 one-year agreement, the school district had been using the fields for several years but its most recent prior agreement from the mid-2000s was vague, Superintendent Peter C. Blake has said; district staff had been maintaining the fields including using district equipment, and the district had not paid anything directly.

He said a year ago that the new one-year agreement legitimized district arrangements for using the fields.

The district seeks to use certain portions of the Kost Fields complex, consisting of four fields, for student athletic and educational purposes, according to the latest agreement.

The RGSL leases the complex from Oneida County, which owns the property. The county last year approved a new five-year lease agreement with the RGSL; in lieu of rent, the RGSL is to maintain the fields at its own expense and provide athletic activities for youths, according to the county agreement.

The complex is near Mohawk Valley Community College’s Rome campus which is by the Floyd Avenue-Bell Road intersection.

Mezza thanked the RGSL and county legislator Gerald Fiorini “for working with us to help come to an agreement so our kids have a place to play.”

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