Exeter’s city council and school district agree to come to the table for the selling of Dobson Field

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By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN

EXETER – Ownership changes may be on the horizon when it comes to Dobson Field. Last week the Exeter City Council agreed to talks with the Exeter Unified School District (EUSD) Board of Trustees over whether to sell it to the District or not.

Within the last year the District has expressed interest in buying Dobson field from the City. EUSD superintendent Tim Hire said that the schools use the facilities about 90% of the time and therefore do about 90% of the maintenance on the property. He added as well that it would be nice to own a piece of property that boosters donate to.

“It would be nice to own the property that our booster are dumping a lot of money into,” Hire said.

According to Exeter city manager Randy Groom the City Council is still unsure what direction they want to take when talks begin. Groom added that it is the City’s interest is to ensure that they will still have access to facilities if they sell the property and they are going to continue to offer recreation programs. As of now, the City uses Dobson Field for youth soccer, youth baseball/softball, youth flag football, adult men’s softball, and adult co-ed softball.

Hire said that the District has no intention of eliminating the City’s use of the facilities for their programs.

The school district uses it for varsity and junior varsity baseball, boys and girls soccer practice and Wilson cross country. Other uses are the Exeter Lions Club 4th of July fireworks, Exeter little league, means soccer and Tulare County Fire Dept with Exeter Police Department K-9 training.

There is yet to be an official date set for the two governing boards to discuss the possible sale.

Dobson Field first came into the City’s possession in 1994 when they swapped what is now two softball fields, the pool, the tennis courts and the student parking area for what was then called Recreation Park. Part of the agreement was that the District wanted to take over the Exeter Eels and adult basketball. The City eventually reassumed the adult basketball program after two seasons.

In addition the City added $750,000 of redevelopment dollars so the District could renovate the pool, tennis court and parking area.

The City later purchased land from a cold storage company that is now known as Dobson South and Dobson North. Grant money was used for lights for little league, concessions, storage and construction of the restrooms. On the north west corner of the property the District added the JV baseball field. The City helped supply the grass and parts for the sprinkler system while the school provided the labor. The District accepted donations for the backstop and the District refurbished old bleachers provided by the City.

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