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Community Supports Footing Tax Bill for Church Ballpark

While nonprofit and religious organizations have been under the microscope in recent years when it comes to tax-exempt status of their fitness and recreation facilities, voters in Boscawen, N.H. last night approved a plan that would donated $6,000 to a local church to cover property taxes and maintenance on its baseball field.

The field, owned by Boscawen Congregational Church, was built in 1915 and has been offered free for use by local groups over the last century, including Merrimack Valley Youth Baseball and Softball. But in 2014, the city’s tax assessor determined that because the lot was not being used for religious purposes, it was not tax exempt, and the church was billed $1,600.

In addition to covering the property tax bill, the city’s donation will also help defray maintenance and upkeep costs for the church ballpark. Church and community volunteers had been assisting with the efforts and will continue to do so.

“It does need some work,” Merrimack Valley Little League president Eric Crane told the Concord Monitor. “Our plan has always been to revitalize and rebuild the church park.”

Not all voters agreed that the donation was a grand slam, however. “My concern isn’t about the kids playing baseball. If you give money to one nonprofit, how do you deny others that come forward?” one resident asked.

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