Duluth 709 Families,
Thank you all for your patience over the past many weeks. Over that time, the Board has been moving ahead with field improvements, collecting information and gathering valuable input from the State, the City, and other youth baseball communities throughout greater Minnesota.
Today, Duluth 709 is pleased to announced our intention to move ahead with baseball for the 2020 season. Here are some particulars to know as it relates to our programming this year:
- Duluth 709 will follow the guidelines for the return to youth organized sports as set forth by the Minnesota State Department of Health (MDH) (https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/youthsports.pdf). Additional measures are also under consideration, and will be submitted to the city are part of our adapted operational plan as both effective and enforceable within our baseball facility settings. As you can see within the link, MDH currently allows for controlled practices, with the next phase offering the potential of local league play under the current plan. The City of Duluth will need to approve our plan to get back on the field this summer.
- The guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health acknowledges June 1st as a return date. That in mind, the City of Duluth has closed city park properties such as Lake Park, Western, and Wheeler to organized activities through July 1st. The Duluth 709 Board will be working in conjunction with the City to see the fields re-opened for our purposes as soon as possible, but not later than July 1st based on the State approval to proceed. As it relates to the Lake Park and Western baseball facilities our families have taken on 100% of the required funding and maintenance to care for those properties for many decades. Given that fact, and our intention to offer the same grass roots care for the Wheeler facility, that should potentially delimit the City’s concern of any cost impact on them, and allow us to focus on a review of the MDH guidelines and additional site specific adaptations being prepared for return to play. However, the usage of Wheeler Fields is uncertain at this time.
- We expect organized activities to begin not later than July 1st with the potential of beginning sooner with City acknowledgment, and extending the Duluth 709 baseball season through the end of August to maintain the same 9 week schedule our families have typically participated in. We will be working in conjunction with the Quad Cities League to evaluate the potential for league games occurring in our traditional format along with an agreed upon set of guidelines at our fields and other communities. If it is deemed that we cannot move forward with the Quad Cities, from their end or ours, we will develop a City League to schedule game play once the MDH phase plan allows for local league game play, or it will be redefined to whatever manner we can have kids on the fields competing.
- We expect to follow our original weekly schedule. Majors (Monday/Wednesday), Modified (Monday/Wednesday), Full Field (Tuesday/Thursday).
- We will re-open registration for those not previously registered, with a Sunday, June 7th deadline for supplemental enrollment. There will also be a Survey sent out to get some feedback on the season to come, please complete that by Sunday, June 7th as well to help us with planning.
- In our next steps as a board, we will also be determining what type of Tournament Season may be available for our groups. We hope to determine if any travel will happen, tournaments confined to local events only, or if it is deemed that we will not have an organized tournament season. Please stay patient as we make decisions in this area.
As an organization, Duluth 709 firmly trusts in the ability of our parents to make the right decision for what is best for their families. In some cases that will see their young men joining us, and in other cases it will see their young men staying home. We expect that those parents who choose to let their children participate will be great stewards of our community, and help us in building a baseball experience that is not only positive, but responsibly safe for those involved. We ask that any family previously registered, not wanting to participate, reach out to us directly at email@example.com no later than Sunday, June 7th, to inform us of that decision. Duluth 709 is prepared to provide a 75% refund to families not participating, however we would ask non-participating families to consider donating your registration in lieu of the deficit this year is creating for our Non-Profit. To date in preparation for the season, the association has incurred significant costs in the form of indoor practice time at UWS, indoor evaluation time at UMD, a replacement field groomer for the previous unit in regular disrepair, new portable mounds for gameplay flexibility, and several operating costs including insurance and property upkeep needed to care for the park. We will be sending out a full description of our Refund Policy later in the week.
In closing, Duluth 709 has prided itself on creating a better baseball experience for families throughout the City of Duluth. A united program where our young men are challenged in a positive way, while learning many of the lessons we know to be essential to their personal development. This year provides us with unprecedented challenges, that test both our resolve, and our ability to lead through a period of doubt and fear. We want to look back at this years from now, and be able to be proud of the how we took this on, as a community, in a thoughtful way.
Continue to enjoy the improving spring weather, and keep those games of backyard catch going until we can start practices and skill development.
Duluth 709 Baseball
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