By Sarah Robinson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau voted unanimously Thursday to approve the city’s request for up to $429,000 in additional funds for the Tupelo Aquatic Center.
The money will be used to purchase a state-of-the-art digital scoreboard, touch pads to time races, bleachers and additional equipment. An architectural fee of $39,000 also is included.
The funds will be available to the city as needed. Previously, the CVB committed an additional $300,000, to be distributed over three years.
CVB board member Jeff Snyder said he supported the additional request because he wanted the center to be a first-class facility.
“We see a lot of economic impact from sports,” said Snyder, general manager of The Mall at Barnes Crossing.
Tupelo Parks and Recreation Director Don Lewis said the architectural and engineering fee is based on the work that will be required to alter the ceiling to support the scoreboard. Lewis said it has not been decided yet if the city will bid out these projects or if the general contractor will do that. He hopes to have made orders for the equipment and furnishings by March.
CVB Executive Director Neal McCoy said the additional funding approval demonstrated the CVB’s commitment to promoting the youth sports market. McCoy said the facility will set Tupelo apart from other communities in the region that compete for youth sporting events.
“This investment is to make sure we have the facility to be one of the top markets in the Southeast,” he said.
Officials hope the new aquatic center will draw in competitions from across the South. The CVB has already submitted bids to host state swimming events in 2014.
The facility is scheduled to open in November. The days and times it will be open for public use have not yet been established.
What It’s For
The official request of the CVB for up to $429,000 in funding for the Tupelo Aquatic Center outlines the expenses as:
• $260,000 – Scoreboard/timing system by Colorado Time Systems
• $130,000 – Bleachers, lockers and additional equipment
• $39,000 – Architectural and engineering fee (10 percent of $390,000)