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The nonprofit Fuquay-Varina Athletic Association is trying to find ways to stay afloat after a controversial decision by the town to offer a competing youth recreation program – and its turning to members for ideas.
The 2,200-member group will host a forum at 7 p.m. Monday at the Fuquay Masonic Lodge, 338 S. Main St.
Parents and coaches have said they plan to stick behind the FVAA, which has operated the sports program on behalf of the town for more than 22 years. On Aug. 6, that ended when Fuquay-Varina commissioners voted to start their own youth recreation program over concerns of too-high fees, field schedules and financial accountability. The town’s program will not include travel teams.
FVAA board members say they have opened the group’s books to the town, and tax returns are available online. Parents also say they are willing to pay the FVAA membership fees, $40 a year for in-town families and $65 to nonresidents, because of how well the program is run. Most sports require an additional $65 per-season fee.
“We’re not going to play for the town of (Fuquay-Varina),” said Jamie Pereira, of Fuquay-Varina, whose son plays baseball. “I’d like to see the FVAA remain. The town isn’t going to run it like the FVAA. Kids come from all over to come play for the FVAA. It has a higher standard, a higher level of play. It has a reputation all over the area.”
Baseball coach Dominic Shedrick lives in Holly Springs, but his children play for the FVAA and he encourages his neighbors to do the same.
Without the FVAA, Shedrick said his family “is done” traveling and spending money in Fuquay-Varina.
“We won’t have a reason to come here,” he said. “I do want (the FVAA) to fight. I will pay more to keep the FVAA alive.”
At issue is whether the group can afford to pay for field time. It has been using town fields in exchange for operating the youth sports program because the town didn’t have the staff.
Under the new system, the FVAA will have to pay $15 to $30 per hour per field, an annual cost of $180,000 to $359,000. There are also $25 to $50 facilities-prep fees, and a surcharge for lighted fields.
Even getting to use the fields could be a challenge; the town will give preference to teams with more Fuquay-Varina residents. The FVAA is about 60 percent nonresident.
The town’s recreation program is to begin in September with basketball.
For now, the “FVAA will continue to operate business as usual,” said board member Beth Cassels. “ We have a lot of information to gather over the course of the next 30 days. (The) biggest challenge at hand is field space, and that will be our priority.”
For more information about the FVAA visit www.fvaa.org.