Usage at Dawson fields declines
JANESVILLE--Where have all the softball teams gone?
Those are questions Janesville city officials and softball enthusiasts are asking as the number of teams playing at Dawson Ball Fields declines.
About 166 teams played at Dawson in 2002 compared to 112 in 2012, a drop of more than 30 percent. Some say the city is missing out on needed revenue because it doesn’t sponsor tournaments.
“It’s a sad commentary when you see Dawson empty on a Saturday,” said Steve Knox, chairman of the Janesville Leisure Services Committee.
Since 2008, revenue from Dawson has been flat, but expenses have grown.
In 2008, revenue was $63,344, and expenses were $88,553 for a recovery rate of 77 percent.
In 2012, revenue was $64,191, but expenses were $103,269 for a recovery rate was 62 percent.
Concession stand income is not included in the numbers.
Shelley Slapak, recreation director, said the 2012 numbers include repairs to equipment.
Players and others point to a variety of factors for Dawson’s dwindling teams, including rising fees, the economy, a reduction in umpires, facility condition and an ordinance that banned beer sales.
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