Last week a disgruntled mother on social media was telling the world about her struggles with city officials as it pertained to youth sports.
Apparently, she had registered her three girls in a spring soccer league at Camp Jordan. The scheduled games were cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
When the soccer mom asked city officials for her money back, city officials said that wasn’t possible. The registration money was already spent. The city’s counter offer was that soccer mom’s daughters would be able to play in a summer youth soccer league.
According to soccer mom, that wasn’t going to work. She said she spoke with Shawnna Skiles who runs the leagues, parks and recreation director Adam Wilson, and finally, City Manager Chris Dorsey. They all said there would be no refund.
Soccer mom couldn’t accept that answer, continued calling city officials and leaving messages. Now, she says, city officials are not returning her calls.
In a city that values parks and recreation above most everything else – remember the phrase “Camp Jordan, the Jewel of East Ridge” – this is unacceptable.
The city poured $2.3 million into the park last year in a much-needed face lift. Of course, the ambitious timetable for completion of the project didn’t happen – OK, the weather sucked – and many youth sports played in the park were played elsewhere. That’s a major pain for parents … sign up to play in one park, only to be displaced to another.
Fast forward to this season, and through no fault of the city, this plague hits. Gotta give credit to City Manager Dorsey for at least opening the gates to the park and allowing residents and visitors to walk the path and fish the pond.
But, this policy of no refunds to people who have signed their kids up to play and the season is cancelled is just mean. In the olden days, a person forked over money for goods or services. If the goods or services didn’t come through you got a refund. Isn’t that right? That’s just good business, isn’t it?
What kind of signal does the city’s stance on no refunds for youth sports send? Bad, I would venture. You know, what happens next season when a person who has been wronged wants their kids to play youth sports? Where you gonna sign up? Not East Ridge … not Camp Jordan.
I’m sure the vast majority of folks who signed their kids up for this spring soccer league were fine with the arrangement of playing in the summer and it’s paid for. But for a few, perhaps they scraped up the couple hundred bucks for the kids but they need, NEED that money now. You know, pandemic, furlough, rent, FOOD.
How much money did the city collect in registration fees for the spring soccer league? I have no idea. Let’s assume it’s $25,000. Let’s assume that 20 percent of the parents who signed their kids up want a refund. That amounts to $5,000.
Are you kidding me? The City of East Ridge can’t scrape up $5K to show a little good will, good faith, GOODNESS?
Give this soccer mom her money back and let’s move on. If others step forward and want theirs, write ’em a check.
The city has a wonderful facility in Camp Jordan Park. It should be for the millions in taxpayer dollars we continually lavish upon it. What was the phrase in the movie “Field of Dreams:” “Build it and they will come.”
I think not, if city officials treat people like infield dirt.