Threat of lawsuit had district looking at moving games to Baxter Sports Complex
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A potential legal issue that could have moved Fort Madison softball games to the Baxter Sports Complex has been averted.
According to FMCSD Activities Director Ben Fry, a lawsuit threatened against the district regarding potential damage to property behind the high school’s softball field almost moved play out to the west side of town.
In an email to Pen City Current, Fry declined to disclose who was threatening the district, but said there were concerns things could escalate, but for the time being the district is comfortable continuing to play at the high school diamond.
“I am choosing not to provide names out of respect for the parties involved,” Fry said.
“The district felt that there were concerns that things may escalate in a way that would prevent the softball team from being allowed to play on the softball field. To cover our bases, we felt finding an alternate location like BSC would allow a suitable alternative and keep the games in Fort Madison.”
A social media post on Saturday gathered the attention of many in town when it was mentioned that the district may move the ball games to the Baxter Sports Complex at a cost of $150 per game, but the district would lose concession sales during those games that would normally have been played at FMHS.
Fry said the Sports Complex has been a great venue for the school’s soccer programs and staff there has been great to work with.
“I had met with BSC to discuss the possibility of playing home softball games at their facility. After an initial meeting with Jeff Woodside, all of the concerns we had about playing at BSC and the rental fees were discussed,” he wrote.
Fry indicated the $150 per game fee was discussed and verbally agreed upon with room for negotiations should there be any other needs.
“Jeff and BSC have been fantastic to work with for our soccer programs, so it seemed like the best option given the time frame we were working with,” Fry wrote.
He said he didn’t feel the situation with the property owner had been resolved, but said the district feels comfortable with where the situation is at, with games continuing to be played at FMHS. Fry is leaving the district next month, but said he hopes the situation can be fully resolved.
“Absolutely! For right now, we’re just happy we are able to provide our student-athletes an opportunity to play games in Fort Madison, whether that be at BSC or at Hoskins Field.”
The district has looked into the option of purchasing netting to keep foul balls within the park complex and has spoken with vendors about products.
“When I did speak with vendors, I did communicate that I would prefer not to piece things together. If we’re going to fix it, it needed to be fixed properly and updated,” Fry said.
Tonight’s game with Central Lee is being played at Fort Madison High School.