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PBAA abandons fight over Plum athletic fields

| Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Plum Borough Athletic Association is dropping its fight to retain the lease to the field complex, Borough Manager Michael Thomas said.

The borough and the group, also known as the PBAA, signed two agreements last weekend, Thomas said.

Thomas said the PBAA signed over the bleachers to the borough. Additionally, the group agreed to withdraw an appeal of the lease termination, Thomas said.

PBAA President Bob Schmidt and PBAA attorney Rolf Patberg did not respond to emails asking for comment.

Plum District Judge Linda Zucco in January terminated the PBAA lease of eight athletic fields on Ross Hollow Road after borough officials accused the group's leadership of violating the lease with unauthorized construction of sheds, dugouts and a walking trail at the borough-owned complex.

"They (the PBAA) agreed to withdraw any legal claims to the property and against the borough," Thomas said.

The development comes as the Plum Baseball & Softball Association, or PBSA, a new athletic group with a permit to operate the program, prepares for the new season to start April 23.

Some 960 children played for the PBAA last year; about 800 had signed up for the new league as of three weeks ago.

Plum Councilman Michael Dell said council intends to vote on a lease with the PBSA at Monday's meeting.

Dell said the lease is expected to be in line with the lease council in February signed with the Plum Area Soccer Association.

That 25-year lease mandates the association conduct an annual audit of its finances, provide the borough with proof of insurance and submit a schedule of sports events and other activities at the fields located in Larry Mills Park.

Dell also said the finance committee, of which he is chairman, plans to recommend council approve budgeting $25,000 for repairs to the field complex.

Dell said the money would be used to fix a walking bridge over Plum Creek, remove a shed and possibly replace some of the bleachers and install railings.

"I am glad this is finally coming to an end," Council President Mike Doyle said. "I want to get this organization (PBSA) the lease it deserves and move forward."

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