MILTON, Ga. — Milton is reworking plans for youth football this fall after the city finalized a contract with the North Atlanta Football League June 3. The organization will become the second football provider in the city, replacing the Milton Steelers which will now be based out of King’s Ridge Christian School.
Plans for a joint operation with Alpharetta, however, fell through days after Milton signed up.
Milton Recreation and Parks Director Jim Cregge said staff will return to the City Council with a revised agreement with NAFL that will provide for Milton football teams to practice and play out of Bell Memorial Park, naturally traveling for games within the league as it would normally do. Non-residents registering with the Milton football program, provided in partnership with NAFL, would incur non-resident fees.
Milton chose to open the bidding process for a new provider earlier this year, and the NAFL was the only organization that stepped forward.
“Even though they were the only applicant, we wanted to make sure we found [an organization] that is a good fit,” Cregge said. “We think they are a good fit, and we already have a high number of residents participating in the NAFL.”
Because NAFL is also youth football provider for Alpharetta, the Milton plan was originally to have games and practices split between one field at Bell Memorial Park and two fields at North Park in Alpharetta.
The two cites dissolved a longstanding partnership earlier this year that allowed youths in both cities to participate in programs without incurring non-resident fees. The non-resident charge can add as much as 75 percent to the registration price. In 2018, Milton residents accounted for 14,300 registrations for Alpharetta-based programs.
The issue was first raised by Milton’s request to remove the out-of-city waiver for programming available in both cities, such as boys lacrosse, football, baseball, basketball, tennis and swim.
After negotiations between the cities proved fruitless, Milton chose to dissolve the agreement.
However, both municipalities have since made some concessions. Earlier this year, Alpharetta and Milton approved provisions allowing youth residents of both cities to be counted as “residents” in the makeup of local travel teams. The moves were enacted to preserve the rosters of teams assembled in recent years. Travel teams are required to include at least 50 percent local residents.
Alpharetta’s waiver for “resident status” for Milton youths runs for one year. Milton officials extended its waiver for Alpharetta players until they age out of the program.
Cregge said conversations have continued between the two cities.
“We are still talking to see if we can come up with something that is mutually beneficial for both cities,” Cregge said. “We haven’t come up with anything yet.”