It was painful sitting through a portion of Chester City Council on Wednesday night as they discussed youth sports.
During the public discussion portion, more than a couple coaches addressed council on their difficulty meeting with council to solicit help with their programs. Bringing it up at a council meeting seemed to be their last resort to seek the city’s help.
The city’s response was varied.
Of course, coach just wanted to know if they can meet and talk about this year.
That’s when the Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation admitted that he was not contacted by any coaches to meet on these issue. He was not aware requests had been sent to city council members.
Then, another councilman mentioned that Chester Youth Collaborative is the organization that represents the City of Chester regarding youth related activity.
Then, we heard that there is a sweet spot in the week that you can meet with all the city council members at once. I’m not going to share it. You’ll have to call them yourself for that info.
No meeting was set between coaches and council but council seemed to agree that they’re open to meeting with the coaches.
This awkward and contentious discussion between coaches and council demonstrates that two things need to happen immediately:
First, the city of Chester must understand that just like Christmas comes every year, so does Chester Panther football. The city should be prepared for youth football, not act like they’re scared of it.
Next, the city should already have the package prepared for the Chester Panthers, or anyone else who wants to use one of their fields or courts for football, basketball, softball, tennis, soccer, golf, go-cart racing, Walk-a-Thons, and double dutch.
The city should be able to tell the Chester Panthers by early summer, what they will need to bring to the table in order for the city to allow them to use the fields.
- The City of Chester permits the Chester Panthers to play their entire season and potential playoff games, including practices at Veterans Memorial Park.
- The price includes use of the bathrooms and concession stands during these periods.
- Game day parking is designated for this lot.
- Here are the other terms and conditions
I recommend the city determine which request they receive on an ongoing basis and start preparing packages to present to the requestor so they have a simple way to apply and learn how to qualify to use the city resources for youth activity.
Why isn’t requesting use of a field for a season as simple as filling out a form, checking off the boxes for the things you want, and have the City tell you what it’s going to cost and explain your other responsibilities?
Let’s hope the council and Youth Collaborative can put their heads together and do this. They certainly have the talent to put these packages together, but will they?
If they don’t, we’ll keep having these ugly and unproductive meetings over and over, frustrating coaches & parents.
p.s. The kids don’t need to sit in and see these meetings. They don’t need to know how dysfunctional us adults can get on matters involving them. Keep them home next time. All kids need to know is when is practice, and what is game time.