Field pact divides Canfield trustees, soccer club
By Elise Franco
Township trustees and Canfield Soccer Club must find some common ground if an agreement on the athletic fields at the township park is to continue.
About 50 members of the club, along with players and their parents, spoke out during Tuesday’s trustees meeting about the possibility that the agreement made in 2009 could be voided.
Brian Governor, soccer club president, said because the club was late with the fourth $10,000 installment of its annual payments, trustees claimed during a private meeting that CSC was in breach of contract.
The CSC, founded in 1978, signed a written agreement with the township in 2009 that stated the club would pay $50,000 — $10,000 annually — to Canfield over five years. The payments would give CSC priority scheduling on the fields at Canfield Township Park on Herbert Road for 15 years.
Governor said the agreement also calls for the club to be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the fields.
Payment was due in August 2011, but due to clerical error and changing of club officers, the amount wasn’t paid until March 2012, Governor said.
He said trustees never contacted the club to find out why it hadn’t paid, and a check was sent to the township as soon as the error was realized.
“The township wants to take away the ability of CSC to schedule other groups for field usage,” he said during public comment Tuesday. “And we believe, ultimately, they want to schedule other groups ahead of the CSC.”
Township Trustee Marie Cartwright said the trustees’ issue was less about the late payment and more about the club not providing a detailed practice and game schedule to the township by March 31, as ordered in the agreement.
“What we have here is a misunderstanding,” she said. “These fields are for all residents and children in the township. ... We need to understand the schedule of your teams.”
Cartwright said the club provided a list of hours the fields would be used, but the hours spanned from sun-up to sun-down.
“You have all blocks of time,” she said. “We don’t want to take priority away from CSC, so there’s got to be a way for at least one field to be open for other clubs.”
Club members and the trustees all said they’re willing to hash out the issues.
Governor said he plans to ask trustees to revise the date by which the schedule needs to be set because summer sign-ups aren’t closed until the end of May, making it nearly impossible to set a schedule before the start of June.
“The scheduling was the same this year as last year, and we had no problems,” Governor said. “But the problem is something we can fix.”
Cartwright said trustees have taken no action on the agreement, and she’ believes the matter will be resolved.