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Murrysville council OKs ballfield ads at community park

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By Daveen Rae Kurutz
Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Advertising will be permitted along the fences at a proposed softball-baseball complex at Murrysville Community Park.

Murrysville council last week approved an agreement that will split a baseball field at the park into three smaller fields to form a softball-baseball complex. The agreement signs over Little Haymaker Field to Murrysville to be converted into additional parking for the municipal community center.

“You're going to find that this is going to be a great attribute to the community as a whole,” said Rolf Patberg, softball vice president for the Franklin Regional Athletic Association. “It's good for business. It's good for property values.”

Debate on the agreement has centered around repeated requests from Patberg and other athletic association officials to be permitted to sell advertising at the new fields to raise money to build a permanent concession stand. Council members did not want advertising signs littered along the fences and feared that allowing one sports group to solicit on-field advertising would cause problems with other local sports groups.

Chief Administrator Jim Morrison said the latter won't be a problem. Municipal staff will prepare a policy dictating what types of advertising will be permitted at sporting events and when, he said. Council President Joan Kearns said she hopes that policy is in place by the end of 2013.

“The regulations we set down would be applicable for any organization that comes to the municipality requesting advertising for events,” Kearns said. “These are essentially game-day signs.”

No more than 10 game-day advertising signs can be placed on the outfield fences at the fields. All signs must be removed after the game. If the signs are left for municipal employees remove, the association must pay a $250 fee.

The agreement permits the athletic association to sell the naming rights of the three fields for the next 20 years. Money raised through naming rights must be used to enhance or expand the complex. The athletic association will be permitted to feature only two cosponsors on the front of each scoreboard at the fields — no advertising is permitted on the back of the scoreboards.

Patberg said that the association plans to use any profits from advertising to build a concession stand at the complex.

The municipality is set to pay about $150,000 in 2013 and 2014 to develop the fields and an additional $50,000 on the parking lot.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at dkurutz@tribweb.com or 412-856-7400, ext. 8627

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