Hours after a story appeared Sunday in the Sun-Gazette regarding a news conference Tuesday at Bowman Field, Williamsport Crosscutters filed a request under the state Right to Know law to obtain a copy of the agreement with a hockey team known as the Williamsport Outlaws of the Federal Hockey League.
"We knew a week ago they were having a press conference but we didn't know a lot of details in the maintenance and operations agreement," said Gabe Sinicropi, vice president of marketing and public relations with the Crosscutters, a single-A baseball team that calls the historic field its home.
"I think it is fair to say we wanted to see what was going on," Sinicropi said following a news conference announcing a proposal to bring an ice rink to the field between October and April.
Crosscutters' owner Paul Velte said the baseball team is not opposed to a hockey team using Bowman Field.
However, Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said Tuesday he was disappointed with an 11th-hour letter the Crosscutters sent to City Council and what he described as a lack of respect shown him.
"Maybe the root of their (Crosscutters') displeasure is they have to share the facility the city owns with another entity," Campana said.
Campana said he was upset because he did not get a copy of what he called an "11th-hour letter" issued by the Crosscutters to council and discussed by council's public works committee about an hour after the news conference outside the ball field.
Some of the details in the letter, such as questions about the legality of the team's registration status to play in Pennsylvania, upset Campana.
"If the Crosscutters are trying to demean the Outlaws, that's wrong," Campana said.
Campana questioned why the Crosscutters did not inform him of their question about the hockey club's legal ability to play in this state or to share the letter with him as the city's chief administrator.
"I don't think that was very respectful," Campana said. "The rink will be for the community use most of the time and the team will use it for its home games."
Campana said he believed the baseball team is upset it has to share the venue.
"Now, the Crosscutters will have to share Bowman Field, and they haven't had to share it with another tenant," Campana said. "Maybe that's the issue with the Crosscutters."
In response, Velte said Campana's statement was "unfair." Velte said the letter was sent to council to protect the interests of the baseball team and hockey club, the city, the people who attend the games.
"Nineteen years ago, when I came here I went through the lease two or three times," Velte said. "Yes, we have to look out for ourselves. It's fair to the Outlaws, to the city and the Crosscutters to make sure all of the t's are crossed."
Meanwhile, the main thrust of the letter is the organization isn't opposed to the use of the field for hockey, but suggested provisions be added to the agreement. City solictors are reviewing the Crosscutters' suggestions.
Mostly, the team wants the field maintained and restored, which is what the committee also wants to see as an assurance.
"I'd like to see the ice rink removed and field ready for play by April 1," said Councilman N. Clifford "Skip" Smith, chairman of the council committee.
Other issues the baseball club want to see included in the agreement involve less broadly defined terms regarding permits, insurance, use of the playing field, sales of beer, utilities, concessions and improvements after the hockey and ice skating season conclude.
Don Kirnan, commissioner of the Federal Hockey League, said he did not have problems with the baseball club's list of requirements and proposed revisions to the maintenance and operation agreement.
Kirnan also said he had no problems with the legal status question.
"We're registered through the federal government, the Department of Treasury," Kirnan said. Outlaws team owner Kristin Ann Rooney, an attorney based in Phoenix, Ariz., may easily set up registration with the Department of State, Kirnan added.
The Crosscutters' suggestions are expected to be part of the discussion by the full body of council Thursday night.