Department needs at most $198,000 from Winchester for upgrades, fees
By Alex Bridges - email@example.com
WINCHESTER - The city could host a national tournament for youth baseball in 2011, but the field for the event needs some work.
At a work session Tuesday, the Winchester City Council forwarded to its next regular meeting a resolution that gives approval to the Parks and Recreation Department to host the 2011 Cal Ripken-Babe Ruth League International 10-year-old World Series.
Department Director Brad Veach pitched the idea to council, citing the potential monetary benefits to the city if Winchester hosted the event.
Winchester already has, in the past nine years, hosted division playoffs and other similar tournaments held by the same organization, Veach said.
The department needs at most $198,000 from the city, according to Veach, of which $100,000 would pay for new lighting at Yost Field in Jim Barnett Park and other upgrades. The department hopes to receive grant money to pay for that cost, Veach said.
The remaining $98,000 includes a $40,000 fee required for the city to host the event and Veach said he would propose paying that cost in two budget cycles.
The cost to operate the field is estimated at $150,000, according to Veach, who suggested the department take half of that from its fund balance and invest it in items they can later sell such as souvenirs.
"The bottom line is the community has to support this event for it to be successful," Veach said.
The department would sponsor the event and a team of nine players would represent Winchester, according to Veach.
Those players could come from all over the district which includes the city and counties of Clarke, Frederick and Warren as well as Hardy and Hampshire counties in West Virginia.
Nine more teams from across the country would play in the tournament, Veach explained.
"The 10-year-old series is the most desirable age group because you have the biggest following and the other good thing about it ... you're not required to have families hosting the children so that means more people in hotels," Veach told the council.
Teams would stay an average 9.7 days in the area during the event, he said, and in doing so likely would spend money throughout the city.
Veach told council that analysis shows the tournament would bring more revenue to the city, which would more than cover the cost.
Councilman John Willingham asked Natalie Wills, executive director of tourism, whether the money would be a good investment.
She said the event "would create tremendous exposure" for the city but also is geared toward "a target market."
Members unanimously approved a motion to forward the resolution to its next regular meeting. Council President Jeffrey Buettner and Councilman John Hill did not attend the session.