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Baseball shed controversy

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By Kevin Beese

Broadview officials are looking at possibly taking back money they gave to the town’s largest youth sports program for a storage shed.

Broadview Youth Baseball, a 26-year charter member of Little League, had gotten approval from the village in April for $5,000 for a shed to be located at 11th Avenue and 13th Street. However, Mayor Katrina Thompson and trustees are now questioning if the village should just be a sponsor of the program for $500.

“It is not that we don’t want to support the program,” Thompson said at this week’s Village Board meeting. “We need to be consistent with how we treat individual entities.”

Tyrone Little, president of Broadview Youth Baseball, said it is interesting that before the village leadership changed, village officials were all for supporting the program, but that now things have changed.

“The mayor is saying she does not want to be wasteful, that the $5,000 is not a proper allocation for a not-for-profit,” Little said. “We are not a charity addressing overall causes. We are a Broadview group for Broadview kids. We are a good investment.”

Little, husband of former village Trustee Diane Little, balked in an interview Tuesday about administration claims that money for such a donation is not in the budget.

“You are talking about $5,000,” Little said. “This is the same mayor who without a budget went and purchased a vehicle for her use and created two new village positions, one of which she filled with her lifetime friend. She redecorated her office.”

Trustee Sherman Jones said at Monday’s Village Board meeting that the village’s initial donation for the shed “opened the door for any group” wanting money from the municipality.

“We are not going to give everyone $5,000,” Jones said. “Little League Baseball needs to be self-sufficient. I don’t see the kids and coaches fund-raising.”

Little said the organization continues to raise money for the program. He said the organization has had poker nights; sold team T-shirts; sold value cards which provide discounts at local merchants and restaurants for card purchasers; and sold popcorn and candy.

“We do seek out ways to raise revenue,” Little said. “We do different things because if anything dries up, we would be in serious trouble.”

Trustee Verina Horne said the money was allocated to the program and should not be rescinded.

“I don’t agree with taking money away from the kids,” Horne said. “If baseball helps our kids, why are we not going to help our kids?”

The issue was tabled at Monday’s Village Board meeting and will be brought back up at the July 3 meeting.

Voting for tabling the discussion were Trustees Judy Abraham, Tara Brewer and Horne.

Trustee Jones voted against tabling the issue.

Trustees Judy Brown-Marino and John Ealey were absent.

Little said the existing shed is dilapidated.

“The roof is worn. There is mold, mildew and rats in the baseball helmets. I have thrown out two bags of equipment due to rats,” Little said. “You can see through the shed. I put a metal plate over the hole.”

Little said that the shed is proposed for Broadview-Westchester Joint Water Agency property near Legion Field.

He said he had gotten approval for the shed from Water Agency members two years ago, but at a recent agency meeting Mayor Thompson and Jones raised questions about zoning, insurance and shed security.

“The only ones opposed to the shed were the people from our town, affecting our kids,” Little said.

He said he doesn’t understand why the village does not want to support the baseball organization.

‘We are the only sustained program for kids in Broadview for 25 years,” Little said. “The (Broadview) Park District’s programs only last a year or two.”

 

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