Sponsors still needed at the resort

Sponsorship opportunities are always available for businesses looking to advertise at one of Union County’s busiest facilities.

The El Dorado-Union County Recreation Complex reportedly attracts over 125,000 people each year for youth and adult baseball/softball games and tournaments.

Activity is expected to resume with new soccer fields expected to open in a few weeks and additional expansion plans that could involve a new baseball field to accommodate teenagers and older adults.

The new field would help serve the SouthArk Stars baseball and softball teams, which, under an agreement with the resort, began playing and training at the facility after sports programs launched on last year.

The college uses fields 4 (formerly known as the Schoolboy Rowe field) and 8 for baseball and softball, respectively.

There are six other baseball/softball diamonds in the complex.

Members of the El Dorado-Union County Recreation Complex Commission said that with a regulatory field for older teens and adults, the complex could position itself as a host site for junior college tournaments in the future.

With these possibilities in mind and because the coronavirus (COVID-19) has significantly slowed resort activity in 2020, the commission is working with its advertising agency to increase sponsorships.

Last month, Don Hale, president and owner of the Diamond Agency, told commissioners that the agency was working to renew sponsorships and create new ones with the aim of securing 20 sponsorships by June.

Hale said the ad agency began sending out renewal notices to existing sponsors in mid-March, and since then all but one of the sponsors have renewed their deals.

A few new sponsors have been added and there is room for a few more, Hale said, adding sponsorship opportunities will be available throughout the year.

“Hopefully by this time next month we will have a full account of the support we have for the referral program,” he said.

Many existing signs and banners were removed from the fences surrounding the ball diamonds in late 2019 when the first phase of a two-part renovation and expansion plan began at the complex.

The facility closed to make way for construction and just as the 2020 season was opening, the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak forced the resort to close between March and the end of July 2020.

As the establishment’s activity decreased considerably in 2020, a grace period was extended to advertisers and sponsors in 2021.

Hale previously explained that advertisers did not take full advantage of sponsorships purchased in 2020 and the Diamond Agency hopes advertising businesses will resume at the resort this year.

Banners are available at four sponsorship levels, including:

• $1,800, Grand Slam (banners on six courts).

• $1,000, triple (banners on three courts).

• $800, Double (banners on two courts).

• $450, single (banner on one field).

The cost of annual sponsorships includes banners, artwork and production.

Hale said the Diamond Agency would install the banners and ensure they were highly visible, noting that the agency was tracking usage and activity in the field.

Additionally, the banners will be printed on high quality vinyl mesh material suitable for outdoor use and will be visible under field lighting.

For more information or to enroll in the referral program, call the Diamond agency at 870-862-1010 or email [email protected]

Mowing and rubbish

At a regular meeting on April 8, the Resort Commission also resolved an issue with a local mowing/landscape company that is under contract with the City of El Dorado to service the resort.

Perry Pope, owner of Flower Pot Lawn Care and Landscaping, said he wanted to clarify his point of contact and responsibility.

“Was it Robert Edmonds (El Dorado Director of Public Works) or was it the (El Dorado City Council) who approved the offer, or was it this group?” Pope asked, referring to the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado, which manages and operates the resort, pursuant to a contract with the city.

Commissioner and city council member Avo Vartenian said the commission hired Flower Pot to “go out and do some work for the city.”

Pope said the contract and job description are self-explanatory and he reiterated his question about who he is responsible to and who he should call if there is a problem.

“Instead of five calls I would like to have one point of contact and I think it should be Robert Edmonds,” Pope said.

Council member Paul Choate noted that Edmonds is responsible for all factories and physical properties in the city.

“There is a chain of command with the city, whether you believe it or not,” Choate said, making the crowd laugh.

Greg Harrison, commission chairman and member of the Union County Court of Quorum, said the contract called for Flower Pot to mow every 10 days at the resort, weather permitting.

Edmond said the unit bid price also allows flexibility for issues such as bad weather or if a tournament is scheduled before the next grasscut and “you want to work things out there.”

Vartenian asked if Edmonds needed to micro-manage the mowing schedule and pointed out that an offer had been made for the service because BGCE needed help mowing the complex grounds.

“Who does he call if there’s a problem outside of his job description and mowing the grass?” asked Vartenian.

Pope said Flower Pot had recently encountered issues with litter strewn across the complex grounds.

“April 1st I had weed killer and I had four men there picking up trash for three hours. I didn’t charge for that because it wasn’t really growing then, but now it’s is, so who’s responsible for that?” Pope asked.

He said crews regularly had to clean up trash, but the amount of trash was excessive on April 1.

Harrison said the storms blew through the facility’s trash cans and animals entered the trash cans and littered the garbage.

“There’s going to be trash there because of all the activity going on there,” Harrison said.

With the help of fellow quorum court member Johnny Burson, Harrison said the resort’s garbage collection schedule has changed to once every two weeks from once a month.

“Looks like garbage needs to be picked up more than every two weeks,” said Phillip Lansdell, ex-officio member of the complex commission.

Anthony Farris King, Athletic Director of the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado, asked what he should do to help rectify the situation.

“There is no need to make a mountain out of a molehill,” he said.

The commissioners agreed that Pope and Farris King could coordinate their schedules so that the grounds are cleared of litter when Flower Pot arrives at the resort to mow.

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