ALAMEDA -- The City Council has agreed to turn over the management and maintenance of the baseball field at College of Alameda to Alameda Babe Ruth Baseball, a move that is projected to eventually save the city about $31,000 annually.
The city and the Peralta Community College District, which includes the college, have been jointly operating the field since 1991. But with the agreement set to expire in June 2016, Alameda Babe Ruth offered to take over the responsibility since it primarily uses the field, according to city officials.
"We have a very big task before us," the league's Pat Bail said. "I think we are up to it. We have a lot of support in the community."
The council's unanimous decision to approve the agreement on March 18 will provide the league with $150,000 over five years, as well as specialized equipment worth about $22,000 for maintaining a hardball field, such as mowers and a field groomer.
The city currently spends $124,000 annually from the General Fund to operate and maintain the field at the college campus on Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway, including for a full-time maintenance worker through the Alameda Recreation and Park Department.
The worker will take on other duties at the department as a result of the agreement. But city officials said the new arrangement will still save the city about $31,000 annually starting in fiscal year 2018-2019, when their payments to the league will end.
"Clearly, this is a wonderful partnership," Councilwoman Lena Tam said.
Along with Alameda Babe Ruth, nonprofits and school leagues use the field. Representatives of the Peralta district have pledged to pay for watering the field after Alameda Babe Ruth takes over the upkeep and management, Bail said.
Mayor Marie Gilmore said achieving the agreement underscored the popularity of youth baseball among the city's residents.
"This has been a baseball town for a very, very long time," Gilmore said. "One of the ways I know that is because of people who either coach, help run snack bars or do other things for Little League or Babe Ruth -- who participate."
Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.