DREHER TOWNSHIP – The time to sign up for a kids’ soccer league in Wayne County is running out.
Some parents claim their kids won’t be playing though, thanks to what has amounted to a field of fees forcing the league to move its games a half-hour away.
The Wallenpaupack Youth Soccer League has played at Carlton Drake Memorial Park in Newfoundland free of charge for years.
Hundreds of kids will now have to play near Hawley which is an hour-long round trip. All because Dreher Township, which operates the park, wants to charge what some parents are calling outrageous fees.
The soccer fields are pretty quiet this time of year at the park in Newfoundland and it’s looking like they will stay quiet when the soccer season starts in August.
Parents of some kids in the Wallenpaupack Youth Soccer League are upset the games and even the practices will move to the Hawley area this year, some 30 minutes away.
“It’s sad, it’s sad for the kids, they’re the only ones who’ll truly be hurt at any of this,” said Jamie Kurilla.
Some of the soccer moms have had to tell their son or daughter that they won’t be playing this year. Dreher Township wants the league to pay $1,000 up-front plus weekly fees to play.
“No surrounding townships around here charge for using fields, or concessions or bathrooms,” said Sandy Olsommer.
A new building at Carlton Drake Memorial Park has concessions and bathrooms and was paid for with a state grant. Now township supervisors want to charge athletic groups to play at the park because the building is new. However, the Wallenpaupack Youth Soccer League won’t be playing at the park anytime soon.
“One township of a couple thousand people is paying for everyone to use the park. That’s fine, but now we have a method to make money,” said Dreher Township Supervisor Pete Pardi.
Pardi said fees paid to use the fields and the new concession stand will help pay for utilities and maintenance. But the township was footing the bill for all that before and parents can’t understand why a public park should be turned into a potential money-maker for the township.
“It’ll be empty, they can open it themselves, nobody here,” said Olsommer.
Already parents said they’re paying $65 to the league for their kids to play soccer.
If they agreed to pay to play at the park in Newfoundland the price tag could jump significantly.
Parents said even if their kids could practice at the fields in Carlton Drake Memorial Park, they wouldn’t mind traveling to Hawley for the games starting in August.