by Rick Hormann
Although the Recreation Service Department was impacted with various cuts and fee increases as part of the budget cut process, the services to the youth and adult sports programs, tournaments and field rentals are still going strong in our community.
As the sports programs and tournaments in our city not only generate tremendous economic impact and fee-based revenues to the general fund, the Recreation Services Department continues to provide a variety of benefits to our sports enthusiasts who either live, work or visit our beautiful city. Whether providing a program, league or tournament, our department continues to service the youth, adult and senior athletes of our community, surrounding cities, and competitive teams who visit our award-winning tournaments on an annual basis.
Our community youth sports leagues consist of approximately 1,000 local participants in soccer, 620 in little league, 290 in girls softball, 200 in football and cheer and 650 in basketball and as partners with local boards and the YMCA. Our department serves these youth athletes by providing fields, gym use and meeting rooms and assisting with collecting registrations and partnering with boards through a bi-monthly athletic board meeting. Many projects and field renovation costs are shared by these youth groups and the Recreation Services Department to maintain the facilities we all utilize.
The adult sports league calendar continues to be successful through our basketball, volleyball and softball programs. We annually register close to 300 adult teams and approximately 3,000 participants who stay and play in our leagues, enjoying the quality of life we provide through these programs. We continuously search for events that positively impact our local economy throughout the tournament season. Our calendar begins in April and concludes in October.
Targeting additional youth events that bring families to our city is the main goal. Ultimately, we target those events where parents, grandparents and siblings travel, filling our hotels, dining in our restaurants and shopping in our stores throughout their stay. The economic impact of these events to our community generated over $2.3 million of direct spending in 2015. We also believe that when these out of town guests come to play in our community, they may return here for vacations.
Along with utilizing our sports facilities for tournaments, events, local leagues and youth programs, we also work hard to maximize our revenue production through field and gym rentals. Our staff does an outstanding job in renting the multiple city fields and Grace Sparkes Memorial Activity Center Gym for club team practices that are created out of the community youth sports leagues listed above, as well as out of town club teams from all over the state. The Recreation Services Department recognizes the personal, social, environmental and economic benefits that are provided through our sports programs and tournaments. We look forward to serving our local and visiting athletes athletes for many years to come.