Town Strikes Deal for Nonprofit to Run Ball Fields

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October 16, 2010; Source: Palm Beach Post | We’ve lost count of the number of stories appearing around the country about municipalities taking swings at nonprofits by cutting their support for programs and services. See our Newswire from last week lamenting the proposed fees.

Rarely do we come across stories in which a nonprofit comes to the relief of a struggling city or town. Yet, in Lantana, Fla., the nonprofit Lantana Athletic Association made a successful pitch to run the town’s four fields, where hundreds of kids play baseball. Under the deal struck between the two groups, the town will save some $120,000 a year in maintenance costs. “We would have had a couple hundred kids with no place to play ball,” said Lantana Athletic Association President Rob Murphy. “The town’s hands were tied and it came down to: ‘Are we going to cut social services or are we going to cut the fields?”

The deal saves the town from cries of foul that undoubtedly would have followed had it decided to “mothball” the fields. Mayor David Stewart said after the athletic association approached the town to run the fields, “We basically said: ‘Here are the keys. You take care of it.'” The association says it intends to cover the $66,000 it will cost the group to maintain the fields each year through grants and business sponsorships.—Bruce Trachtenberg