Kranz, Muir, and Gaspar, along with Lisa Shaffer, who is not expected to seek re-election, and Teresa Barth, who has retired, approved the giveaway of the city's right to an unrestricted 10-year extension of the use of the fields in a backroom deal between city management and the YMCA. The YMCA apparently had big development plans for the land, and played hardball for months, refusing to undo the contract change, but has finally yielded to public outrage with a compromise.
Encinitas Little League will be able to continue playing on three of the four fields at the Ecke Sports Park, even after a proposed construction project becomes a reality, the Ecke Family YMCA announced Friday afternoon.As is customary at the City of Encinitas, no one in city management was held accountable for the backroom deal to give away the fields, and it remains unclear to this day whether any of the council members understood what they were voting for.
Little League officials have been fearful for months that the YMCA’s expansion plans would kick them permanently off the fields, which they have used for decades. The YMCA owns the fields, but leases them to the city.
Worries surfaced last fall when Little League officials discovered that the YMCA’s latest contract with the city contained a clause that the organization could end the baseball team’s use of the Ecke Sports Park with only 30 days’ notice. The YMCA said it would probably need “one or more of the ball fields” when it expands its main facility next to the playing fields on Saxony Road.