Allow home games at MTBSA fields
Allow home games at MTBSA fields
Why this petition matters
On June 26, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Governor Wolf announced that Montgomery County, Pennsylvania will be moved to the GREEN phase and that:
“Recreational and amateur sports organizations and teams (not affiliated with a public or private PK-12 school), including, but not limited to, basketball, hockey, field hockey, football, soccer, swimming, baseball, softball, lacrosse, gymnastics, and kickball, are permitted to conduct in-person activities, including games and practices, in counties designated as being in the Green phase”.
Montgomery Township Baseball & Softball Association (MTBSA) uses Montgomery Township owned fields for all practices and games. On June 30, 2020, Tracy DiLorenzo, President of MTBSA, submitted a Return to Play “Green” Guidelines to the township. These guidelines included many safety, sanitization, and social distancing measures in order to safely hold games at Montgomery Township fields. On July 1, 2020, MTBSA was notified of the below by the township:
“Our position during this unique period is that no competitive contests may be scheduled or played on Montgomery Township athletic fields until the restrooms have been reopened. A comprehensive cleaning/monitoring schedule has to be in place before we can safely allow any organizations to engage in competition.”
It was the requested by MTBSA that we play games at Rose Twig, Whistlestop, and Fellowship Parks which all have baseball and/or softball fields but have never had permanent bathrooms. There are port-a-potties on site at each of these parks and games have been played without the use of permanent bathrooms for many years. Our league was then notified that the township will not currently allow games, outside of interleague Montgomery Township Rec games, because they do not want to have non-Montgomery Township residents at our parks. This stance is very contradictive to what the township is permitting with other activities outside of youth sports. See below for examples:
· Montgomery Township is holding “Midsummer Mavericks” outdoor camps at Spring Valley Park from 7/13/2020 to 8/14/2020. Registration for these camps is open to both residents and non-residents of Montgomery Township. The township is allowing non-residents to come into their parks for their township run camps.
· The Montgomery Township Recreation Center is currently accepting memberships for non-township residents. This is an enclosed space with no UV light to kill the virus, no open air whereas baseball and softball games are held outdoors with plenty of space for social distancing and with UV light proven to help kill the Covid-19 virus. The township is allowing non-residents to exercise at the Recreation Center.
· There are no measures in place at any Montgomery Township parks to keep non-residents out of their parks. Therefore, non-residents can come play on the tennis courts, basketball courts, pickleball courts, playgrounds, running tracks, pavilions, and even a group of up to 250 non-residents can come onto one of the baseball or softball fields and play games with their family and friends, without all of the safety measures that MTBSA has implemented, but organized MTBSA games are not permitted with non-township residents.
· There are no measures in place at any Montgomery Township businesses, restaurants, stores, malls, movie theaters, etc. to keep non-township residents from entering those facilities, all of which are mostly indoors with much less space than is allotted for at a baseball or softball field.
· Under the current “Green” guidelines from Governor Wolf, gatherings of up to 250 people are allowed as long as social distancing measures are met. There is nothing indicating that those 250 people have to be from one township. Montgomery Township does not have any measures in place to prevent non-township residents from attending those gatherings whether they be indoors or outdoors. That is OK to have non-residents in attendance, but youth sports are not.
· There is currently a Tacos & Tequilas reelection campaign fundraiser at a township resident’s home scheduled for 7/21/2020. There is nothing indicating that non-township residents are not permitted to attend this political fundraiser. That is OK to have non-residents in attendance, but youth sports are not.
It appears that Montgomery Township has an unequal application of the non-resident rule and has an obvious bias against youth sports in the township. In 2020, MTBSA had over 350 members registered to play baseball and softball. These families are tax paying residents that have an expectation for their children to be able to play youth sports. The MTBSA Executive Board represents these over 250 residents and are working in their best interest. MTBSA has gone above and beyond the minimal requirements set forth by the PA Department of Health and Montgomery County Department of Health to ensure that everyone participating or spectating youth sports games at township fields can do so in a safe manner with minimal risk. MTBSA has spent almost $1,000 in supplies to implement these safety measures for games. MTBSA has signed a Waiver of Liability, requested by the township, releasing the township of any liability from the league regarding Covid-19. All MTBSA players have a parent Waiver of Liability signed for the league releasing the league, Montgomery Township, and Montgomery County regarding Covid-19. Most of the surrounding youth baseball and softball leagues have resumed games at their home fields. We are asking Montgomery Township to allow baseball and softball games at township parks as long as all guidelines set forth by the league and county are in place. Please consider signing this petition to show your support for not just the league, but more importantly, the boys and girls of Montgomery Township. Thank you in advance for your time and support.
- Montgomery Township Parks and Recreation Board