- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—After two hours of heated exchange, the City of Chandler and Brownsboro-Murchison-Chandler Youth Foundation agreed to cancel the current contract between the two parties during a called meeting at Chandler City Hall Monday.

After a 30-minute executive session the city council made a motion to cancel the contract with the idea a new one would be drafted by the city attorney by Tuesday, August 4.

BMC will have a chance to review the new contract and make adjustments before it is finalized in time for the fall season.

City council members and the BMC board stressed the importance of the fall ball season and their desire to play it at Winchester Park in Chandler despite their various views on the situations over the last few months.

“I anticipated a lot of darts. I really anticipated a lot of darts from BMC,” Chandler Mayor Libby Fulgham said. “There were some that I knew when they were saying what they had to say that, was it fact, or was it just opinion? Most of the things they said were opinion. I’ve been meeting with BMC and the city over these issues over the past two months just about daily trying to hash out some things that would never come to the surface.”

BMC controlled baseball and softball operations at Winchester Park for more than 25 years. The city stepped in to team with the league this season to operate the concession stand and maintain the fields.

Both parties agree the wording of the canceled contract was loose and did not help matters during the spring season.

“They have been running the park out there for 27 years,” Fulgham said. “Chandler has grown to a point where there is more than just baseball out there now. We are thinking about soccer fields on some of the property out there for the kids. I anticipated a lot of darts from both sides but I think both presented themselves well.”

For the first time in recent history, the crowd reached the fire code limit for capacity at the meeting. That limit was recently set by the city’s fire marshal at 40 people.

Yes, some people were turned away from a city council meeting before it even started.

Those that were there let their voice be heard, even though it was against the rules of the meeting. One lady walked out midway through the discussions after taking issue with attacking comments from the city council.

“I saved myself for the last opportunity to speak to kind of bring it all together,” Fulgham said. “I believe it went well. It was nice to be able to go into executive session, come back out and meet with BMC again to come to an agreement to terminate the contract because it was not good for either side.”

Fulgham said he expects the new contract to be more black and white.

“It is my personal opinion that it needs to be black and white. We know between the two parties now what the issues are. I think if those items are in there that there is no doubt we can work together,” Fulgham said.

The new contract will include field maintenance, concessions and the elimination of negative media from either side, Fulgham said.

“We will see how the new contract plays out in fall ball. If we need to change it in the spring we will,” he said. “I do think a contract needs to be yearly because after a year things change. If we can get a good agreement together for fall ball I believe we can re-up that for next year.”

Despite the negative beginning of the meeting, the sides came together with the same intentions — doing what is best for the children who play sports at Winchester Park.

“Their intentions were exactly what ours were. They wanted to terminate the contract. It was not working for them and it was not working for us,” Fulgham said. “As soon as we agreed on that the whole attitude changed for everyone. This was pulling us way apart in the city and I think this will help pull us back together.”


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