The City of Brotherly Love Softball League recently ended two years of negotiations with the city about improvements to the softball fields the league uses.
Next week, CBLSL is expected to cut a check to the Fairmount Park Commission for $30,000 for field renovations, a contribution that will offset the league’s permit fees for the next five years.
Jeff Sotland, CBLSL commissioner, said the league began discussions with the commission in 2008 about possible improvements to the Dairy and Edgely fields that it uses during the softball season.
“The No. 1 problem we have is that the infields have had no significant improvements since 1993,” Sotland said. “They’re in pretty desperate need of resurfacing, which means they need to be dug up and then layered with stone soil, so that they can drain properly and maintain their condition. We basically need them to be safe to play on.”
Sotland said the commission told the league two years ago that the only funding they receive that could be put toward field renovations are from the permit fees paid by organizations like CBLSL that use the fields for sporting events.
CBLSL pays $6,000 annually for the permits, so the league proposed contributing $30,000 up front — which Sotland said was generated through a litany of fundraising avenues — for the renovations and then not having to pay the annual permit fee for five years. The commission was initially agreeable to the idea, but over time voiced reservations, and the proposal eventually stalled in the City Solicitor’s office.
Sotland said Councilman Frank DiCicco and Gloria Casarez, the city’s director of LGBT affairs, both lobbied heavily for the agreement, which he said was influential in its success.
Sotland expects work will begin on two fields this fall, which will allow them to settle over winter.
Fairmount Park Commission officials were unavailable for comment.