Winamac may be getting a new adult softball league, but the idea has led to larger questions about insurance requirements. Park Manager Dave DeLorenzo told the park board last week that he’s heard from someone who’s interested in using the large softball diamond for an over-18, coed league. DeLorenzo was told that almost 60 people have expressed interest.
However, he was concerned that if the softball games were to be considered organized events, the town should require the league to carry insurance. But board members weren’t sure whether that’s been required for other leagues using the park, such as the volleyball and pickleball leagues.
Park board member Jon Chapman didn’t think insurance was necessary, in this case. “I’d say it’s first come, first served,” he said. “If they want to schedule games, we’re saying the diamond’s available to the public.”
DeLorenzo was under the impression that the new softball league was looking for something a bit more organized, though. He noted that organizers planned to charge a small fee, with the proceeds going to the Park Gift Fund to help with the cost of maintaining the facility.
Town Attorney Justin Schramm said that while the town can’t stop a group of people from using a public facility, setting aside a specific time for the league’s use may put it into a different category. “I mean, it sounds to me like they’re wanting something more formal, you know, ‘We want it on this day and time like volleyball does,’ and if that’s the case, yeah, you’re right, we either have to check with our insurance carrier or we’re going to have to have them sign a waiver or both,” Schramm said. “But if you say, ‘Listen, if you don’t mess around with this insurance, this can’t be a town-sponsored kind of thing. You’ve got to just show up and it’s user-beware.’”
Board members agreed that they want to encourage the new league to use the park, but they worried that demanding insurance would add a significant cost for each player. Town officials are expected to continue researching the matter.