Members of Borough Council and HLBA officers usher in a new era for Honesdale youth sports.
The spirit of cooperation and friendly compromise reigned supreme this week at City Hall.
Officers of the Honesdale Little Baseball Association and Borough Council members came together Thursday afternoon to sign an historic document ... a document with terrific implications for the future of local youth sports.
In a room that frequently hosts heated political debates, a preponderance of smiles, laughter and hearty handshakes ruled the day.
The reason for all these good vibes was a long-term lease agreement between the Borough of Honesdale and the HLBA.
According to a multi-page document that both parties signed, upkeep and maintenance of the complex on Grove Street is now the sole responsibility of the local youth league.
The gist of the deal which was made official Thursday is that the HLBA pays a symbolic fee of $1 to the Borough for leasing of the complex grounds.
This lease remains in effect basically "in perpetuity," with a periodic review by both sides every 25 years.
After nearly two years of sometimes contentious negotiation, the Borough and the HLBA were happy to celebrate a long-awaited moment.
"We're very pleased with the outcome here today," a beaming FJ Monaghan, Council President, told TWI Sports. "This is a process that's been ongoing for a couple years now.
"There was a little bit of controversy along the way, but everyone put aside their differences and worked hard to get this lease done. It's a very good day for Honesdale."
At the Table
The HLBA was represented by its two top officials, Charlie Rollison and Scott Kinzinger.
Rollison, who is the long time league president and volunteer coach, was quick to praise everyone involved in the agreement.
"This is definitely a great day," Charlie said.
"There were a whole bunch of people who worked very hard to get this done and it's a happy day for youth baseball in Honesdale."
Kinzinger, a member of the Wayne County Sports Hall of Fame who's been active in the HLBA for the better part of three decades, was quick to agree.
"A lot of work went into this lease," Scott said.
"Getting this signed today is a really big deal for us and for the kids. Now, we can move forward with some of the things we want to do."
Chief among the projects at the top of that list are an expanded parking area, a garage equipment storage and field improvements.
Around the Horn
The Honesdale Little Baseball Association was founded back in the middle 1950s.
It began modestly with just a handful of teams playing games on Clark Romich Memorial Field, which was located at the present-day site of Dave's Super Duper.
Then, in the late 1970s, the burgeoning league expanded to include a brand new field at what was once the borough dump.
That diamond, which was named in honor of the late Freddie Reisch, hosted its first championship game in 1979.
In the intervening two three decades, two more fields were added in memory of Joe Cobb and Ed Rickard.
Today, the Scott Kinzinger Complex, boasts three state-of-the art fields, a concession stand, lights and all the modern conveniences for fans.
In addition to HLBA regular season and Fall Ball games, the league also hosts tournaments sponsored by Cal Ripken's District Five and the Wayne County Commissioners.
"I think it's important to point out that kids in this town are very fortunate to have people like this who care so much," Monaghan said.
"These folks worked extremely hard to make sure the youth of Honesdale have a place to play for many years to come."