TUPELO • City officials are moving forward with plans to place turf on the city’s baseball and softball fields in an effort to increase the number of people playing sports in town.
The Tupelo City Council approved for $2.4 million to be transferred out of the Convention and Visitors Bureau fund in order to put the project up for bid.
Alex Farned, the director of the Tupelo Parks and Recreation Department, said the project is necessary because the city was losing money on games being cancelled from inclement weather. With turf fields installed, Farned said fewer tournaments would be canceled.
“We had a pretty substantial amount of rain earlier this spring,” Farned said. “We’ve missed out on multiple tournaments that got canceled because of rain. The amount of teams that missed out on coming to Tupelo has been over 150 teams. We’ve already got three turf fields in place. On those weekends, those were the only fields we were able to use.”
Farned said even though this may seem like a lot of money, this investment will pay off in the long run because more teams will come and participate in tournaments, which will lead to more people eating at restaurants and staying in hotels in town.
“This is going to be able to ensure teams play even in wet weather,” he said.
Nine baseball fields in Ballard Park and four softball fields in Veterans Park will be turfed.
Kim Hanna, the city’s chief financial officer, said the project has not yet gone out to bid, but the city has only approved the money be set up for this project.
She said the city hopes the project can be completed by early spring 2020.