Agreement still in the worksRyan still questions proposal to create a temporary soccer field on city property
Even though a revised version of an agreement to create a soccer field on city property was given to the Washington City Council earlier this week and City Administrator Brent Hinson thought the situation had been settled, Washington Soccer Club director Sid Ryan still feels the agreement is not satisfactory.
Ryan said today that he still wants to ensure that according to the agreement he won’t be held personally liable for accidents on the proposed soccer field. He said that one option he had given, that was agreed to, was that he work for the Washington Community Y to schedule the use of the field and to administer the park. He said that the employment agreement hadn’t been negotiated yet.
“I thought that was a great idea,” he said. “When I heard the council members got an agreement about 10 minutes before the meeting and I didn’t get anything — I had to send an e-mail to Brent to get it — I was a little upset because even though I wasn’t signing that one, I want to know what the agreement is. When I finally got it, it didn’t say anything about me being hired by the Y. In this day and age, some of those gentlemen’s agreements don’t work.”
Ryan said in the draft agreement he received Thursday, it said that the soccer club would help. He said that he wants to see what the agreement to hire him will be to ensure it is commensurate with other area recreational program soccer directors. He said that the agreement has to be similar.
Hinson said today that he was under the impression the agreement to create the soccer field had been worked out to everyone’s satisfaction. He said that the plan did include Ryan being hired by the Y to schedule the field.
“As far as I’m aware, that is the plan,” Hinson said.
He said during the meeting he had passed out the original proposed agreement with changes marked on the side in red. He also thought that the city council would vote on the agreement during its regular Sept. 4 meeting.
Ryan has received a copy of the agreement and is planning to send changes to the members of the city council.
During the process of requesting 10 acres of city-owned land between Fifth and 18th streets, Ryan said he feels he had been taken advantage of. He said Hinson had approached him with the idea to temporarily use the land. The agreement specifies five years. Ryan objected when he was told that the Y would run the land. In the past Ryan said that the soccer club has had difficulties with the Y scheduling events and use of the field.
“It is a fight for space everywhere,” Ryan said. “The Y is the first one to usurp lands and kick you off.”
Washington Community Y director Becky Harkema could not be reached for comment.
Hinson said that the idea of the negotiations between the soccer club and the Y was to work out conflicts that had happened in the past before the city begins work on a proposed 45-acre wellness park. He also said that the soccer club is not a non-profit nor incorporated.
According to the plan, the soccer club will spend $15,000 to build the field. If the Y is involved, Harkema said during the Aug. 7 city council meeting that the Y would cover part of the cost to seed the land. Hinson said that the city had purchased the land for $7,500 per acre. He believes that the actual cost of the prime agricultural land would be about $12,000 if it were to be sold.
Both Ryan and Hinson said they believe Ryan would be fair in scheduling use of the field. Both said the purpose is to keep any group from being “steamrolled” by not getting to use the land. Ryan said that he had designed the field in such a way that other groups, such as flag football teams, could use a section of the land.
Ryan said that he believes the Y wants control over the field so it can only schedule time for groups it wants. He said that the Y seems to be catering to people with more money.
“The Y is supposed to be for the people and not just for a certain number of people or the high-end people,” he said.
Ryan said that he feels trust has been strained because he didn’t get to see the agreement when the others did. He feels the agreement is being “shoved through” quickly.
Hinson said that he will examine Ryan’s changes to the agreement and that the city and the Y would try to work with him to come up with an agreement that all approve of.
“The agreement is still in the works — apparently,” Hinson said.