Salisbury Press

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PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL WILLISTEIN Salisbury Youth Association President Jeff Rothrock discusses the shed at the Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners' workshop. PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL WILLISTEIN Salisbury Youth Association President Jeff Rothrock discusses the shed at the Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners' workshop.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

Lease may be required for SYA park use

Long-time plans to place a shed at Franko Farm Park for the benefit of the Salisbury Youth Association may finally be moving ahead.

Meanwhile, discussion of the shed led to a possible requirement that SYA sign a lease for use of the township park.

Leases for sports use might be in the offing for all township parks.

The Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners learned details of the SYA shed project during the workshop after the Feb. 14 township meeting.

SYA President Jeff Rothrock briefed the board and Township Manager Randy Soriano, explaining the 12-foot by 24-foot shed would be placed west of the baseball field at Franko Farm in eastern Salisbury.

The shed would replace equipment boxes for storage.

"They are rusted, unsightly," Rothrock said of the metal boxes.

Rothrock said it would be more costly to replace the boxes.

The boxes store items used for SYA baseball and soccer programs.

Rothrock said there is a health and safety reason to get rid of the boxes. He said the metal boxes are "overrun with rodents."

The new shed would be large enough to store a tractor, which has been subject to vandalism and the siphoning of gasoline.

The pad for the shed would be the same size as the shed and would take up approximately the same area as that of the boxes in the 89-acre park, according to Rothrock.

Once the shed is in place and in use, "this will also [mean] less time moving equipment and [allow us to] spend more time teaching our youth," Rothrock said.

The shed would not be a permanent shed and would be placed on skids.

"This is our fourth or fifth year asking for the shed," Rothrock said, emphasizing, "It's for equipment only."

The Salisbury Recreation Commission voted 4-1 in favor of SYA placing a shed in Franko.

Franko, per its original master plan, is designated as a passive park.

Commissioner Joanne Ackerman asked if SYA use of Franko would jeopardize potential grants for the park.

"There is no funding that would be jeopardized," Soriano said.

SYA has been using a portion of Franko for a baseball field for 13 years.

Soriano raised a concern about the township not having a lease with SYA for use of Franko, or other township parks.

Soriano said there could be an issue of liability on the part of the township in the event of injury to a volunteer or student athlete.

Generally, contracts for use of a public facility include a "hold-harmless" clause, protecting a municipality from lawsuits that might result from injuries.

"The way to safeguard this is to have a lease," Soriano said.

Rothrock and other SYA members at the workshop didn't object to a lease requirement.

"We don't have a written lease, but each year we ask for use," Rothrock pointed out.

"Are we going to do that with all the parks?" Ackerman asked.

"Are you going to revisit other parks? Commissioner James Seagreaves asked.

"I would think so," Soriano said. "Yes, we need to."

An estimated 500 families participate in SYA, with approximately 1,000 youths registered to participate in SYA sports programs. The SYA season begins in March.

Soriano said Township Solicitor John W. Ashley will research a lease and a vote could be placed on the agenda for consideration at an upcoming township meeting, perhaps as soon as the 7 p.m. Feb. 28 meeting.

At issue would be the type of lease, liability and insurance.