A 44-year-old local youth baseball and softball organization will continue to play at its east side ball park this season after signing a contract to purchase the facility.
The Vernon Murphy Baseball and Softball Association will pay $66,000 to purchase the 4.2-acre property at 3050 Hillside Avenue from the Vernon Murphy family trust. The organization, which had more than 850 participants last year between spring and fall seasons, is expected to close on the facility later this month.
“We have several families that are second- and third-generation ball players and people affiliated with the ball park,” said Rich Rhodes, the organization’s president who played at the ball park as a child in the early 1980s. “It brings a lot of excitement to us, especially the ones who have been with us for a long time.”
While some players attend county schools, the majority of its players come from Springfield, he said.
“It’s good for the city,” Rhodes said. “Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot for kids to do in the city, so we’re happy to able to offer baseball and softball.”
The facility is valued at about $113,000, according to the Clark County Auditor’s Office. Heather Komon, a trustee of the Vernon Murphy family members who own the property, could not be reached for comment on Friday afternoon. The field was built by local businessman Vernon Murphy and his wife, Narvada, in 1972.
The association financed the complex through Security National Bank. After several fundraising efforts near the end of last year, the league finished the season with a $15,000 surplus that will be used to pay the down payment, said Rhodes.
The league and the ball park’s owners negotiated for about a year, he said.
“We’re pleased we’re coming to a conclusion,” Rhodes said. “We felt it was a fair price for us.”
Last summer, the league was given notice to either purchase, lease or leave the property it has called home for decades. The notice said the league could purchase the property for $80,000 or lease it for about $15,000 annually.
The league will continue to focus on growth, Rhodes said. The organization saw more than 500 participants during its spring season last year and played several games at National Trail Parks and Recreation District facilities, including Lagonda Field.
The league is currently registered with the IRS as a 501 (c) (4) tax-exempt social welfare organization, but will soon be recognized as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. The money it does collect pays for uniforms, equipment, umpires, city sewage and facilities.
The league also planning to build a new field on a 3-acre lot owned by Springfield Twp. behind the current fields, Rhodes said. The league also pays $13 per year to lease the field, which will have a new diamond by opening day, he said.
“I’m not sure it will be fully complete, but it will be playable,” he said.
Sign-ups for ages four through 15 will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20 and Feb. 27, at the VFW Post 1031, 1237 E. Main St. Cost for ages 4-5 is $50, while 8U is $80 and 1oU and 12U are $85. Participants will receive a $10 discount, if registration is mailed and postmarked by Friday. For more information, go to leaguelineup.com/vernonmurphy or the organization’s Facebook page.
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