NORTH FULTON, Ga. — Alpharetta is continuing to work out details on a parks and recreation agreement with Milton that could save sports participants money as the fall season approaches.

Both cities recently signed off on an agreement that will allow its residents to participate in special needs summer camps — Milton’s Camp Joyful Soles and Camp Happy Hearts in Alpharetta — without incurring non-resident fees that can add significantly to registration costs.

Milton has shown its willingness to apply the same agreement to softball and football registrations, but Alpharetta is not yet on board.

Bell Memorial Park

The two cities have proposed waiving non-resident fees for youth football and youth softball and effectively combining the leagues to bolster registrations and lower overall costs. The suggestion comes more than two years after the two cities failed to find a middle ground on their original parks agreement that waived all non-resident fees in a reciprocal arrangement.   

Both cities use the North Atlanta Football League as its youth football provider. Under the proposed agreement, residents from either city can register for the league without non-resident fees, and Milton would oversee the combined league.

Alpharetta would continue to manage youth softball. Milton does not have its own youth softball league, so its residents have been forced to pay non-resident fees for a couple of seasons since the original agreement ended.  

While Milton expressed support for the proposal in May, it remains under consideration in Alpharetta, which has not discussed it publicly.

Alpharetta City Councilman Dan Merkel, who serves as liaison to the city’s Recreation, Parks and Cultural Services Department, issued a statement to the Herald stating the city is still trying to strike a balance.

“Alpharetta and Milton have a history of successful partnerships, all of which are built on a foundation of identifying how to best meet the mutual needs of our respective citizens,” Merkel’s statement said. “Our discussions with Milton regarding these recreational programs and services is ongoing and based on finding that same balance. We remain confident that an agreement will be reached and that this will be another successful partnership between our cities.”

Meanwhile, parents may still be on the hook for non-resident fees. Registration for Alpharetta’s fall youth softball league began July 12, and registration for the North Atlanta Football League’s tackle program has been open since March.

There has been no indication that, if an agreement is reached, participants would be reimbursed if they signed up early. The cities did elect to reimburse non-resident fees for this year’s summer camp programs.

Reach Joe Parker at 770-847-8334. Follow him on Twitter @joeparkerga.

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