Agreement allows OCRA and OYFL to share sports facilities

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee County Commission Thursday approved facility license agreements for Okeechobee Citizens Recreation Association (OCRA) and Okeechobee Youth Football League (OYFL) to use the county sports facilities which are managed by the Okeechobee County Recreation Department.

“We’ve had a relationship with OCRA for 40 plus years,” said Community Services Director Albie Scoggins. ”The organization does a lot for the county including running our baseball, softball and cheerleading programs.

“We look forward to keeping that relationship on good terms. We look forward to working with OCRA in the future for a long time,” he said.

The agreement recognizes OCRA as a priority user, he explained. They have first priority to schedule their baseball, softball and cheerleading program at the sports complex.

After OCRA gives the recreation department their schedule, the county opens up the remaining dates not needed for county maintenance of the complex for use by other members of the public.

Last year OCRA had cancelled their football season, he explained. “They didn’t have enough teams. Meanwhile we had another league call, Okeechobee Youth Football League.”

He said while OCRA is a stay-at-home, local program, OYFL is a travel football league.

“The leagues are really different for the different pace of football competition,” he explained.

He said OYFL asked to use the facilities and were given permission to do so for five games.

They were also allowed to use a portion of the concession stand.

“In the meantime OCRA had come out there and decided they would have signups for their football league, which had not gotten off the ground yet, but they were trying to put it together,” Mr. Scoggins explained.

“In any event, as with any dual use of a concession stands, boundaries got crossed and feelings got hurt,” he said.

“Once we got the OYFL schedule, they scheduled their five games on Saturdays. They worked their concessions outside the concession stand. They used a tent,” he said.

“After that, they came to an agreement that these groups will schedule their seasons at different times. We shouldn’t have any issues moving forward,” he said.

“We look forward to working with both groups.

Mr. Scoggins said the agreements give both groups guidelines and some expectations. Each group will in turn put a $500 security deposit down during their season, and will be responsible for keeping their areas clean.

OYFL does not have the same priority for scheduling that OCRA has because OCRA provides more programs and serves more children, he said. However, since the programs will be different times of the year, the county recreation department will be able to transition from one program into the other, said Mr. Scoggins.

Publisher/Editor Katrina Elsken can be reached at kelsken@newszap.com

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