Houston seeks summer baseball tournaments
HOUSTON – The board of aldermen are pursuing economic development with a baseball bat.
The Houston Board of Aldermen have given the OK for Parks and Recreation Director John Gravat to submit bids for up to four Dizzy Dean youth baseball tournaments this summer for Houston.
The city bid on two tournaments last year and got one – the 8-year-old North State Boys Tournament. This month Houston – and communities across North Mississippi — will bid on the girls and boys 8-year-old tournaments and the girls and boys 10-year-old tournaments.
“We have been told the younger tournaments draw bigger crowds,” said Houston Mayor Stacey Parker. “We were very pleased with last year’s tournament. We actually had several coaches send emails to tournament directors in Jackson saying what a good a job Houston did hosting those tournaments.”
Parker also said the city saw revenue of approximately $5,000 in entry fees and concession stands sales.
“That doesn’t include the money families spent feeding their kids, spending the night in motels and buying gasoline to get back and forth,” said Parker. “We really do see these tournaments as an economic development tool.”
Parker has pushed for development of local baseball parks and improvements in Joe Brigance Park for several years.
“As most people know highways are the No. 1 draw in economic development followed closely by schools,” said Parker. “It may surprise people to know that recreation is third followed by hospitals and medical care.”
And Parker pointed out baseball parks also serves local families through city-league baseball and softball programs.
“We paved the track at Joe Brigance Park and that was a big step for Houston,” said Parker. “We relocated two ball fields and are looking for ways to build more fields and offer more through our parks and recreation department.”
The Houston Board of Aldermen voted to buy a small utility vehicle that will be used to maintain fields and do light hauling for the Parks and Rec. The city expects to pay about $4,500 for that piece of equipment.
“We have always thought the Parks and Rec can pay for itself,” said Parker. “It’s part of a plan to improve our quality of life and bring more people to town.”
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