McMinnville officials are preparing for the old adage “if you build it, they will come” in setting a fee for tournaments at the Civic Center now that ball fields have been renovated.
After spending close to $130,000 to renovate and maintain the ball fields at the Civic Center with the hope of attracting big tournaments from across the state, the dream could come true says McMinnville Parks and Recreation assistant director Justin Scott.
“Now that we’ve spent this money on the fields, we are wanting to bring baseball and softball tournaments to our complex,” said Scott. “We’ve received phone calls from people interested in doing just that. We don’t have anything in place to get the ball rolling.”
A serious inquiry, says Scott, has been made by a tournament that’s 20-25 teams, both youth and adult, all female.
“They are ready, but we just need to get something in place,” said Scott.
Scott recommended the following fee structure after contacting other facilities to see what they charge: Field rental would be $75 per day per field, which includes one initial field preparation and lights included; additional field prep is $25 per diamond, includes dragging and lining; and a $50 non-refundable deposit.
“Seventy-five a day seems to be the going rate,” said Scott. “We thought about increasing that a little bit. If we do that we are going to cut ourselves short, because they are going to go to Cookeville. Cookeville is $75 day. We thought let’s get our foot in the door and we’ll go from there.”
The information was presented to Parks and Recreation Committee members Ben Newman, Steve Harvey and Jimmy Bonner.
Newman said, “What is a day? Is that 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.?”
“Yes, most of the tournament are going to be all day long,” said Scott. “They’ll tell us how many fields they need and we’ll base it on how many are in the tournament. We’ll have to have a cutoff, like 10 p.m. and they have to resume the next day.”
Harvey has been talking to someone about bringing a slow-pitch softball tournament to the Civic Center and he believes requiring a “copy of all brackets and schedules no less than one week prior to event start” and “copy of list of all participants (coaches, team names, number of players per team, state and city of origin) three days prior to tournament start” might be a bit much.
“I know part of the reason we took the grass out of Babe Ruth was to try to get some slow-pitch softball in here,” said Harvey. “I did talk to somebody that does a lot of softball tournaments. I did notice where you talk about the copy of brackets and schedules and a list of the participants. I think that might be hard on slow pitch. Those guys make up their brackets the night before. Teams are dropping out and teams are getting in. Those two lines are probably geared more toward youth teams and that sort of thing.”
Scott says there will be flexibility in all the required items including “payment is due in full one week before start of tournament.”
“We know they are going to be registering the night of,” said Scott. “We know that, but we will try to get it down so we will know how many teams we are going to have, how much manpower we need, how many fields, so forth.”
Mayor Jimmy Haley asked if Cookeville is supplying anything McMinnville isn’t, to which Scott replied, “I don’t think so.”
Netting will be added to some of the fields to prevent balls from going over the fence.
“I’m working on adding netting,” said Scott. “I’ve had a third quote come in this afternoon. We are going to have to put some netting close to the walking trail on the third base line of Cat Walker and then go around. It will keep balls from going over the fence. It will be just on that one field right now. Edley Field will have to have nets, too, but we are going to start on Cat Walker.”
No date was given for the tournament.