Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
New Boston Mayor James Warren delivered a letter to members of village council Thursday concerning New Boston School’s response to claims residents have made that the school has been locked out of the concession stand at Millbrook Park by Newville Little League. Warren wrote in the letter that he has spoken to New Boston High School Principal Melinda Burnside, and she said despite recent comments made by resident the school has never asked for access to the concession stand.
Furthermore, the Newville Little League Board reported that nobody has ever asked them for access to the stand.
The issue goes back to March 5, when Don Rawlins and Newville Little League came to village council asking them to sign an agreement that would allow them to make improvements to the fields and concession stand at Millbrook Park in exchange for the village limiting public access to those areas and giving little league first rights to play. The little league also asked for exclusive access to the concession stand and press boxes and said they would be installing new equipment that they did not want damaged or stolen.
Rawlins said the village would also keep a key to these areas, and assured they would not interfere with junior and high school teams that typically setup outside the concession stand anyway.
Council agreed to let them make improvements, but would not sign a contract giving the little league preferred access to the public fields and concession stand.
During the regular village council meeting on Tuesday, resident Johnnie Steele said he was speaking on behalf of 15 New Boston students and their parents who are upset that the school has been locked out of the concession stand by Newville Little League. He explained to council that concession sales is how the high school teams pay for expenses like uniforms.
“We got to go and setup tables and set out coolers and set out in front of the concession stand, and we’re wondering how Donny Rawlins — someone from South Webster — just strolls in here and takes over,” Steele said.
Council briefly told Steele what happened during the March 5 council meeting, and said it was their understanding that little league was going to make the fields and concession stand available to anyone who needed it.
“The council was advised that they (little league) would not interfere with the high school’s use of concession stand or the field. If that’s happening, then I guess we have a problem and we need to deal with it. Because that’s not what these gentlemen were sold,” said New Boston Village Solicitor Justin Blume.
Members of council and Mayor James Warren promised Steele they would look into the problem. Warren delivered a letter to council on Thursday telling them that he has spoken with New Boston High School Principal Melinda Burnside, who told him the school has never asked for access to the concession stand. Any public comments made during Tuesday’s council meeting were not representative of the school.
“Ms. Burnside said they didn’t want any part of the concession stand,” Warren said.
He said any parent who wants access to the concession stand during high school or junior high games would have to make their request to the New Boston School Board, but as of now the school has no plans of requesting access to the stand.
Pebbles Billings, with the Newville Little League Board, said on Thursday that nobody — school or otherwise — has ever asked them for access to the concession stand. If a request was made, she said it would be brought to the league board to discuss and vote to approve or deny.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.