The Fuquay-Varina Athletic Association (FVAA) will be discussing this week just how it might carry its youth athletic programs forward now that it no longer has monetary support from the town and, in fact, is about to have competition from the town for participants.
Last week the town board voted in favor of establishing its own recreational sports programs for youth and severing ties to the FVAA.
The three-two vote for a town run program came after three years of discussions involving representatives of the town and of the FVAA board of directors in an effort to come up with a Memorandum of Agreement, the type agreement the town and the non-profit have been operating under for years.
Although the town run recreational sports program will siphon away some of the FVAA’s athletes and charges for use of fields may up costs, Ed McCauley, director of the non-profit organization, said this week, “The FVAA doesn’t plan to fade away when it no longer has ties to the town.” He said he thinks both the organization’s directors and the community want FVAA to keep going.
“We may have to cut back on some programs or maybe drop programs that require indoor facilities (rent will be too high),” he said, but he thinks the organization will keep going. “We may have to look for some other facilities,” McCauley said. “There has even has been talk of building a facility outside the city limits.”
Kurt Underhill, president of the FVAA’s board of directors, said this week “We’re going to look at everything. This opens a book of questions, options, choices.” He praised the many volunteers who have helped the program grow through the years and questioned whether any other organization could gather such a good group. He said they care about what the people want, while politicians often don’t care.
Town Commissioner Ed Ridpath, who voted in favor of the town starting its own sports program, said of the three-year effort to reach an agreement, “ that is too long. It looks to me like it’s an intractable problem and there are irreconcilable differences.”
Ridpath said the FVAA “has done a great job of running the athletic programs but there have been some accountability and transparency issues in the past.” The town stopped giving the FVAA grant money in 2009 when the non profit was unable to supply some financial documents.
Commissioners said in the meeting last week they expect fees will be lower for participants in the town-run program. The town will not run any “travel” or “elite” teams that play teams in other towns.
Several commissioners advocated for the change because they want to see the town once again in charge of its playing fields. One explained that the FVAA, given first dibbs on fields and other facilities, tend to fill the fields’ schedules with games and/or practices, so there is little opportunity for anyone else to use them. Under the old “memorandum” the FVAA paid no rent for use and paid nothing toward maintenance for the facilities.
Fuquay-Varina Manager Jon Barlow proposed the new sports program to be run by the Parks and Recreation department. He said the town has ample staff and facilities to run youth recreational programs, and he sees such a program as something the town should be doing for its citizens.