Upgrades at Joe Mack Campbell Park in Jonesboro are complete, and a recreational tournament was held there this last weekend to commemorate the completion of the work. The city spent about $1.1 million on the project.
Artificial turf was built into the infields of 10 youth fields, and City Parks and Recreation Danny Kapales said the upgrade will virtually eliminate the possibility of rain outs. Youth baseball and softball tournaments are one of the top tourist dollar generators in the city, Mayor Harold Perrin previously told Talk Business & Politics.
Jonesboro hosts about 30 baseball and softball tournaments during the spring and summer. An estimated 40,000 people come as a result of these tournaments, according to estimates. Some get rained out or have to be suspended, and the economic impact on tourism dollars can be significant, according to the city.
“We have lost tournaments because of rain every year in the past, and that not only takes away a weekend of entertainment for families, it’s a loss of economic impact for Jonesboro,” Kapales said. “We hope to have a banner season this year and eliminate rain outs.”
Other upgrades at the park include safety fence-toppers and restriping of parking lot. A new concession stand is being built on the newest baseball quad in the southwest corner of the park. Jonesboro A&P commissioners voted in October to dedicate $425,000 toward the project during the next five years. The city of Jonesboro will dole a similar amount towards the project, A&P Commission Chairman Jerry Morgan said. The remainder will be raised through private fundraisers and donations. The city will pay for the entire project upfront, and the A&P will pay $85,000 per year until its portion is paid off.
New lighting has also been installed at Southside Softball Complex, as the city is replacing old lights on all nine fields, and new LED light have been installed in the parking lots. The city was slated to spend $850,000 to improve the lighting system, and another $350,000 on a new concession stand.
“These projects at both our ballparks are important for quality of life and sales tax revenue for the City,” Perrin said. “I’m proud of the work of our Parks department, and we want everyone to have a first-class experience at our parks.”
In other city parks and recreation business, Brad Pietz has been appointed assistant director of parks and recreation, Perrin said. Pietz succeeds Danny Kapales, who was promoted to director of the department. Pietz has been assistant director of First National Bank Arena at Arkansas State University since 2012. Prior to that, he spent five years as ASU’s assistant athletic director for development.
“Brad brings experience and professionalism, having worked with Arkansas State and the Convocation Center – experience that will help Parks and Recreation grow and succeed,” Kapales said.
As director of marketing for the former Convocation Center, Pietz managed multi-faceted marketing campaigns, promoting concerts and other touring artists. He oversaw the installation of a broadcast room and was responsible for content on digital and audio signage, according to the city.
Prior to coming to Jonesboro, Pietz worked for five years at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, first as director of ticket operations, then as assistant marketing director. He earned a bachelor’s degree in speech-organizational communication from Louisiana Tech University and a master’s degree in human performance-sport administration from the University of Southern Mississippi.