It is not the goal of the Washington Parks Department to take over operations of the Washington Youth Sports Association (WYSA), according to Darren Dunkle, parks director.
Rumors about a possible shift in leadership, along with complaints led the two organizations to meet and discuss field conditions, value, poorly run operations and where money is going — all issues that were brought up in complaints.
Dunkle said he had received complaints, as well as council members and the parks board.
To show how money is being used, Mike Stapp, president of WYSA, provided the parks department with a cash flow chart listing inflows and outflows from this year compared to last year.
Dunkle said the cash flow chart was to create transparency and to help people understand exactly where the money is going.
“A lot of people didn’t feel like they were getting(value for their money). But what they didn’t understand . . . is that the organization is putting back some of that money for future improvements,” Dunkle said, including the addition of new fields.
Stapp said the organization has about $75,000 set aside to help build several new fields for games or practice. While the funds likely wouldn’t cover the entire cost of the fields, it would be a good start, he said.
Dunkle and Debbie Toedebusch, park commission president, said there was a lot of “misinformation” circulating.
“In the end, if they wanted to turn (the organization) over to the city, we would explore that,” Dunkle said, “But our hope is that they can continue to run and operate the league.”
The league is operated by a board of directors, which Stapp said he doesn’t think is interested in exploring the option.
Dunkle said both groups will work together to dispel misinformation as well as to improve field conditions.
The city is responsible for ongoing maintenance of the fields and the WYSA is responsible for dragging and lining the fields in exchange for not paying field rental fees for games.
Earlier this year, the WYSA offered to pay half the cost of conducting soil samples at the fields as well as to purchase a laser level.
Samples are being collected and staff is looking at laser levels that would meet the city and WYSA’s needs, Dunkle said.
The soil sampling and laser level both will improve field conditions, he said. Results from the samples should come in the next several weeks.
Stapp said he hopes that the soil samples help solve the problems with poor playability of the fields.
During discussion, Dunkle said he learned that the fees are lower than the majority of surrounding associations and do not require that parents work concessions or pay a buy-out fee.
Addressing “poorly run operations,” Stapp said the WYSA is a volunteer organization and that volunteerism has been low the past several years.
“I think (the discussion) opened some eyes on both sides,” Dunkle said. “We want to have open communication and dialogue back and forth between the parks commission, the city and the Washington Youth Sports Association.”