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Legion Field to be turned over to Bremerton School District, court rules

The Kitsap County Superior Court ruled Friday to hand the management of Legion Field over to the Bremerton School District after the district sued American Legion Post 68 for control of the field, according to court records and district officials.

The decision followed a months-long dispute between the two organizations regarding the care of the field, owned by the district, but maintained by the American Legion.

Judge Theodore Spearman granted the district's request for an order requiring the eviction of the American Legion from Legion Field and denied the Legion's request that the lawsuit be dismissed.

The district will take over the East Bremerton field's management March 25, said Patty Glaser, the district's spokeswoman.

The dispute began in November 2010 when the district issued a 90-day notice to end its 45-year-old lease with the Legion, citing the dilapidating condition of the field. Meanwhile, the Legion circulated petitions protesting the takeover and said the district's maintenance of the field has been inadequate in the past. Legion and youth volunteers who play on the field had been making improvements to the field on Saturdays since January, including building a new bullpen and refurbishing the batting cages.

When the Legion refused to vacate the field Feb. 17 after the 90-day deadline, the district filed the lawsuit. Originally scheduled for March 11, the court hearing was postponed to March 18 in the hopes that the groups would reach an amicable agreement, but the case still went to court. The Bremerton High School baseball team has held practices inside the former Bremerton Junior High School gym and rescheduled its first two home games to the fields of opponents.

The district will honor the schedules already planned for the field as long as they do not interfere with use by Bremerton students, Glaser said.

The Legion's attorney, Dave Horton, of Silverdale, declined to comment on the case.

Starting Friday, district crews will complete any work still to be done on the field in order to make it fit for play, Glaser said.

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