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Athens says it may take over operation of girls' softball group

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ATHENS — The city is threatening to take over operation of the Girls Softball Association.

Recreation Director Ben Wiley said Monday that's the only way he can know what is going on with the finances and operation of the program, which the city sponsors.

Councilman Harold Wales said that basically, some parents have concerns that the city's league is subsidizing the travel ball team, known as the North Alabama Explosion. The two organizations have different boards, but some of the same parents and players are involved in both.

David Gregory, the outgoing president for the city league, said no funds from the league have supported travel ball. Gregory did say the board is ready to make changes and work with the city to have more accountability.

Gregory said the two organizations have shared concessions but swapped checks to cover the cost of items each organization used. He said Explosion has not paid to use city facilities, as other non-city leagues have done, and that the Explosion should start paying.

The city has reviewed the league's finances, which show it started the year with $6,000 and ended with $2,000. Gregory said the league did not host any tournaments last season, which hurt revenues.

Gregory, Mayor Dan Williams and Wiley will meet Tuesday to discuss what steps the board and city need to take.

"From the city's standpoint, we should not use taxpayer money to fund travel ball," Wales said. "That's where I stand."

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