Harrison Parks director Chuck Eddington told the City Advertising and Tourism Promotion Commission that the Parks Department is readying for a summer that didn’t necessarily look healthy two months ago.
The CATPC is the directorial board for the Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is funded mainly from sales taxes on prepared food and motel rooms. The Parks Department has been a big generator of revenue with tournaments that lead to motel stays and restaurant meals.
Eddington said the department is still working on installation of new fencing at the Equity Bank Sports Complex. They almost have the Cavender’s Field complete and are beginning to work on the John Phillips Field.
The department will be able to have summer leagues and they are in the process of signing up participants.
“We’ve got like 50 sign-ups this past four days in baseball and I think 25 in softball,” Eddington said Thursday. “So, the numbers are going up.”
He said they will be enrolling kids until next Friday, but if there aren’t enough for leagues, they will do summer camps to give those who signed up a chance to play.
Eddington went on to say that he got a message Wednesday that the directive on baseball and softball might be altered to remove the requirement for wearing masks. He should have more information on that by the time enrollment ends.
Eddington went on say that as soon as he was notified leagues could begin, he submitted a plan for both the Sports Complex and the Anstaff Soccer Complex to re-open at 33% capacity with other restrictions necessary. For instance, there will be no bleachers and all spectators must bring their own chairs.
He said he, CVB director Matt Bell and Mayor Jerry Jackson were planning to meet to discuss how to schedule tournaments for the summer season. Other tournament directors are also having to operate at limited capacity and it’s possible Harrison could pick up some of the overflow from other cities.
The department is also working on re-opening the pool at the Brandon Burlsworth Youth Center, scheduled for Monday, June 1. There will be a limited number of patrons allowed and most surfaces will be sanitized often. Eddington said the Health Department told him that the sun’s ultraviolet rays and chlorine in the water will keep the pool virus free.
And the Summer Rec program set to begin June 8 with a limited number of participants.
“We’re trying to get everything rolling where kids actually have a place to go and some activities to do this summer,” Eddington said.