Kids become ballpark priority

Kids in Valley sports leagues will be first at bat to play

their games in Torguson Park, thanks to a recent vote by North

Bend City Council members. In making their decision, council

members said they wanted to protect the interests of local children

who participate in youth sports, including softball, baseball and


Up until the City Council's vote, out-of-town adult

sports tournaments were able to schedule time on Torguson Park's

ball fields before Valley Little League and other youth groups had

a chance to request dates for their games and tournaments. Now

Valley youth sports take precedence.

"It's definitely a good thing for the city," Councilman

Ed Carlson said of the Jan. 16 vote. "We're trying to make sure

that the No. 1 priority goes to the kids. We do get a lot of use from

folks outside of North Bend that generates income for the city and

for local businesses, but we just felt like despite that, we needed

to create a priority for our citizens to have first crack at the fields."

Comments to the city from youth sports team

leaders prompted the changes.

"Our rationale was to listen to community leaders, who said

they felt pressure from out-of-town groups," said North Bend

Councilman Jim Gildersleeve. "We just decided we were going to give

the ball-field coordinator the discretion; it's going to be the local

kids first."

When times for games and practices are scheduled this

year, youth baseball and soccer teams will receive top priority,

followed by youth tournaments and then local adult tournaments. When

all local teams have scheduled their events, out-of-town adult

tournaments will be scheduled for the remaining days.

In addition to setting aside time for locals to play,

ball-field fees were raised for adult teams, making them more

consistent with other cities' fees. North Bend's fee for adult tournament

teams will now be $28 per game, a raise of $8 from last year. In

comparison, the city of Issaquah charges $26 to $33 for adult groups to

use their fields.

The fee for youth games at North Bend ball fields is $3,

the same as last year, and fees for youth practice times are $1.

Local adult team games are $20, and practice time is $1. Youth

tournaments will cost $11, also the same as last year.

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