With spring youth baseball participation at “record highs,” according to Searcy Regional Sports League Director Rigel Page, and softball and baseball bringing in tournaments, the city is seeking to again add two temporary maintenance workers to help at the Searcy Sports Complex.
The Searcy Advertising and Tourism Promotion Commission approved $20,000 last week to hire the two employees from May through November.
The request was made by Searcy Parks and Recreation Director Mike Parsons. He said there have been some big baseball and softball tournaments over the past month at the sports complex, and the two new employees would be at the sports complex “just to get [the fields] more appealing to bring in more tournaments.”
Parsons said the employees would be working with both the baseball and the softball programs, and “if soccer has a tournament, they will be working soccer. Their main goal is the sports complex, to make it look good, to be able to bring people in.”
Commission accountant Tim Blansett said $7,860 was spent on adding the temporary workers last year.
“It would be better for them to be paid through the city and we would reimburse the city because we don’t have insurance if something were to happen to them and payroll taxes and stuff like that,” Centola said. “That would be something that would definitely be better done through the city and not directly through us.”
City Attorney Buck Gibson agreed that paying the employees needed to go through the city for the reasons Centola mentioned. Parsons said, “It would make it a whole lot easier on all parties.”
Commissioner Rees Jones said he was definitely in favor of hiring the employees, but his only concern was that the original request was for $45,000 and only $7,860 was used for the help last year. Parsons said the request could be changed but that was the amount asked for last year.
Blansett said the workers were paid as independent contractors last year, so there will be some additional costs to the city this year.
Parsons told Howell the workers were out working full-time last year and he doesn’t assume that the amount they are paid will go “significantly over” last year’s amount. He said they won’t be just general employees but will be there to specifically “brighten up” the sports complex.
Jones made the motion for the amount to be $20,000. It was seconded by Commissioner Jim House and passed unanimously. Commissioners Mike Chalenburg and Gary Patel were absent.
Page said spring baseball has 759 registrants to play and 72 total teams. The numbers include “all-time highs” in the older range (11-16) and the tee-ball groups.
He said baseball also has “had three tournaments so far with an average of 28 teams per tournament. This is roughly 1,300 people coming to town each weekend. We have had teams from Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and all corners of the state. The next tournaments are May 14-15, June 4-5 and June 18-19.
“2D Sports overall is making significant gains in the market share of travel baseball and is committed to Searcy through 2023.”
Clarissa Mahanay, president of the youth softball program, said a softball tournament is being held this weekend “with about 35 teams in it. It will take place on both our fields and the adult fields on Saturday, It’s ‘For the Love of Mom’ annual tournament.’”