Petition Started to Save Venice’s Youth Sports Fields

There’s a petition going around to save youth sports complexes at a pair of Venice parks.

Recently, the city council has discussed relocating youth sports fields at Chuck Reiter and Wellfield parks. Council Member Jeanette Gates recently said, “The city is not asking to be out of the sports field business but what we do know is it’s not working right now.” The reason? Money.

As part of the city-county partnership agreed to in 2011, Sarasota County is capped at just $5,000 in expenses for each park, every year. The county charges and collects all user fees, which go to general operation and maintenance. Venice owns the parks and as such, is responsible for primary capital improvements.

And on the county’s wish list? $910,000 for improvements at Chuck Reiter Park by 2022, including $750,000 to replace ballfield lighting. Wellfield Park’s price tag is even higher at $1.1M for, among other things, expanding or upgrading parking lots for football, soccer and baseball fields.

The author of the petition told the Herald-Tribune “I don’t care who maintains it; I’m not pointing fingers. This is just to keep it as is.”

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