Founding members return to New Stanton recreation board
New Stanton's recreation board is moving forward by going back to the beginning.
Three new board members have been appointed after the previous five quit in protest.
Their first order of business was making baseball and softball cheaper — a lot cheaper.
They're all familiar faces. William Naylor, Edward Belotti and Dean Clark were founding members of the first New Stanton recreation board in 1967 — five years before the borough was incorporated.
Naylor, who will serve as president, was on the board for 28 years before resigning. He decided to get involved again when he heard that the recreation program was in disarray.
“This is a shambles, and I'd like to do whatever I can,” he said.
He called Belotti and Clark and asked them to help out, and they agreed.
In December, the borough announced it would dismiss its five recreation board members to reorganize the program under a paid part-time coordinator.
The decision swiftly was reversed by veto from outgoing Mayor Nick DeSantis, but the board members already had quit.
Councilman Scott Sistek said the new board hopefully will bring the saga to a positive conclusion.
“We've accepted some new ideas. We started with looking for a coordinator to do this, and now we're going back to members of the old rec board from years ago,” Sistek said. “Our thought process is changing as we're going through this, and we're going to make it work, and it's all for the benefit for the kids of New Stanton.”
He hopes the old members can bring some new ideas.
“We've done the same thing for so many years, we need to try to change our focus a little bit.”
Former rec board president Alan Wagner said he's unhappy with the way council handled things.
“They never gave us a good reason why they went this way. They just said they have different ideas and wanted to go in a different direction, I guess,” he said.
However, he said he supports the new members.
“Bill Naylor's a great guy, I remember him from back when I played, so I wish him the best,” he said.
The board needs two more members. Naylor said he expects them to be appointed soon.
Naylor said he doesn't like how expensive it's become for kids to play baseball and softball.
Last year, prices in New Stanton ranged from $30 to $125 depending on the age of the player. Parents also had to agree to sell $100 worth of raffle tickets as a fundraiser for the program — or pay $60 to opt out of the raffle sales.
The raffle tickets will stay, but the participation fees will be greatly reduced. The new cost is $15 for age 8 and under, who will get a T-shirt and hat to keep. Age 9 and older will play for free, though they do need to pony up a $25 deposit that will be refunded when they return their uniform at the end of the season.
That's how they did it decades ago, and it's time for low-cost baseball to make a comeback, Naylor said.
“We did it before, and we said we can do it again,” he said.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646, email@example.com or via Twitter @Soolseem.