September 1, 2018 10:02:18 PM
The city of Starkville will look to add another sports coordinator position to its parks department as it seeks greater involvement with organizing baseball.
Aldermen will decide on the matter at Tuesday's meeting, but it drew some discussion during a Friday afternoon work session at City Hall.
Parks and Recreation Director Gerry Logan said Starkville Baseball Association -- a nonprofit that has managed baseball youth baseball in the city for several years -- will continue to assist in running the baseball program in an advisory role.
"They're going to be around, but we're going to run the program," he said. "They're going to be support and we're going to take on all aspects of that operation."
Logan said, to a question from Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker, the parks department will be handle scheduling games, registration and money and hiring umpires.
Walker said that, by taking on those duties, the city will have a more organizational role in managing baseball, with the goal of a more efficient operation.
"What it's going to cut out is trying to communicate with Starkville Baseball Association for when fields need to be ready for games and all of that," Walker said. "So essentially, we're just going to be running baseball in Starkville, and Starkville Baseball Association will still have a group.
"If we decide at some point, as per the parks and recreation master plan, to re-establish a parks and recreation advisory committee, I would think a representative from Starkville Baseball Association would make sense to be on that board," he added.
Logan said the new sports coordinator position, which will replace his former position of director of recreation and sports, will help to oversee these changes.
"The primary goal is for that individual to start running the baseball program, which we haven't been doing," Logan said.
Mayor Lynn Spruill said the change should help see baseball operate more smoothly in Starkville. She also said people already assume the city is involved in running the baseball program which, to this point, has not been the case.
"People assume the city's engaged with it because it's in our parks and in our fields," Spruill said. "When they do, you kind of want to make sure it's everything they want it to be. If they think it's us, we want it to be good."
Randy Carlisle, with the Starkville Baseball Association, did not respond to multiple calls for comment.
Multi-use path extension
Aldermen will also consider accepting a bid to press ahead with a multi-use path extension from Emerson School to Louisville Street.
The path will run north-to-south for about a mile on the west side of Louisville Street and connect with the Lynn Lane multi-use path. Gregory Construction submitted the low bid for the project, at $1.58 million. The Mississippi Department of Transportation is funding the bulk of the project, with a $1.26 million grant, and the city will match the remaining funds from its $7.5 million capital improvement bond issue.
Spruill said the path is another phase in the city's efforts to expand pedestrian and bicycle access throughout the city.
"This is one of those opportunities as part of that Safe Routes to School effort that got started a few years ago," she said. "It focuses on the schools and how we can connect with schools throughout the community. This is a really nice, nice step to get there."
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