Calling in a coach? County wants to see recreation director hired

Published 12:05am Tuesday, July 17, 2012

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors agreed Monday they are ready for the next step toward building a recreation complex — but county leaders don’t necessarily think that step is theirs to take.

The supervisors said the next step is getting a recreation director in place.

Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission Chairman Tate Hobdy appeared before the board at its Monday meeting to present the board with a marketing survey completed by OAN Events and Sports Marketing for the proposed complex.

OAN is an independent Florida-based consulting company in the tourism, sports and event industry that specializes in sports marketing and sports facility consulting.

One of the key findings in the survey, according to Hobdy’s summary, is leadership in the form of a recreation director.

“The success of the program hinges on having the right director in place,” Hobdy said in the summary. “This should be the first step.”

Hobdy said after the meeting that the next logical step would be for the city to hire a recreation director.

“Hopefully that person would be over the complex,” Hobdy said.

Hobdy said he believes the city can fund the director’s position with the budget line item for a recreation director’s salary.

Salina Edwards has been serving as the city’s interim recreation director since former Recreation Director Ralph Tedder retired in late 2010.

Supervisor Mike Lazarus said he believed a director needs to be hired to get the ball rolling again on the complex.

Supervisor David Carter, who is the county’s ex officio recreation commission member, said the commission has done everything that has been asked of them so far, but a director is now needed.

Lazarus said he believes the recreation commission should hire the recreation director because it would take any politics out of the matter.

Hobdy said the recreation commission would be more than happy to assist in the hiring process.

“We don’t want to overstep our bounds,” he said.

The marketing survey focused only on the proposed recreation complex, not the existing Natchez recreational facilities. The survey also does not take into account the possibility of partnering with Vidalia on recreational activities such as tournaments, Hobdy said.

The purpose of the survey, as stated in its summary, is to evaluate the potential of the complex, as well as the community’s ability to both garner and sustain economic development through sports-related visitors and to ensure that the facility program, design and the assets of the community will support an economic impact.

According to Hobdy’s summary, highlights in the survey also included:

• The suggestion of using volunteer labor.

• The possibility of building on other tourism events, such as the balloon race and the food and wine festival. According to the survey, that idea could create a lodging conflict, since the city has approximately 1,091 hotel rooms and 147 bed-and-breakfast rooms.

• The suggestion of a separate sports tourism authority being established under the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

• The suggestion that “creative funding” should be considered to elevate any aquatics facility. The facility holds the most cost and has the smallest usable time period. An indoor facility would be ideal, but falls far outside the current budgeted numbers.

• Updates to the softball facility, which are currently included, would be necessary to see any increase in softball activity.

• Annualized growth for tennis in the first year is 10 percent and an additional 5 percent every year after that. Tennis should be, based on percentages, the fastest growing sport in the proposed complex, and it reaches the broadest age groups.

• Baseball is projected to increase 10 percent in the second year. However, the survey found that with the current baseball organization, growth would cease.

According to the survey, “given the number of fields, the optimum size tournaments will remain small to mid-size; however, the potential exists to host more tournaments given the right combination of scheduling for public use as well.”

Hobdy presented the Natchez Board of Aldermen the survey at its meeting last week and plans to present it to the Natchez-Adams County School Board at its next meeting.

In other news from the meeting:

• Ward 1 Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis appeared before the board to make sure it was on record that the aldermen want to meet with the supervisors about fire protection before finalization of the county’s budget.

Mathis noted that there was a discrepancy about when the city came to the county last year to ask for an additional $50,000 to add to the approximately $566,000 fire protection inter-local agreement.

Board of Supervisors President Darryl Grennell has said the city did not come to the supervisors asking for the additional funds before the county finalized its budget for the current fiscal year.

Prior to Mathis speaking, Lazarus mentioned he thinks some county neighborhoods need more fire hydrants. He also said the county may need to look in to staffing some of the county volunteer fire departments full time.

Lazarus said smaller structures, such as house trailers, are sometimes completely burned by the time the Natchez Fire Department responds to some of the outer lying areas in the county, such as Kingston or Sibley.

“We’re giving a great deal of money to the city…are we getting our bang for our buck?” Lazarus said.

Mathis later said she would make sure the city knows the county does not think it is getting its money worth for the agreement.

Grennell said Lazarus’ comments were not an official report from the board.

Lazarus said he was not displeased with the performance of the NFD he said, though, that logistically some places are so far out for the city that it takes a while for the department to arrive.

“If we could have manned fire houses, it would shorten the response time,” Lazarus said.

Lazarus said he is most concerned about the safety of county residents and their property.

• The board unanimously voted to allow Adams County Administrator Joe Murray to begin advertising for the county information technology director’s position.







  • Anonymous

    OMG, it sounds like the olympics are coming.

  • Anonymous

    Gotta start spending money before they spend lots of money.

  • Anonymous

    This is insane… who the hell hires people to work before they break ground on the business? Secondly I am still wondering where the money is coming from to do this… They are consistently having money  money problems to take care of necessities how are they going to afford to build this thing? much less hire a director and maintain it. I do not understand their way of thinking on city finances. If you are having a hard time meeting what you already have how can you take on more?

  • khakirat

    The money boat must be coming to Adams county with all this on the front page!! Maybe the local goverments is cutting the vehical fleets and salaries in half to stay up with Vidalia huh”??!! Lazarus said what I have said for 2 years that the county can take our fire engine back that was gave to the city and the almost 3/4 million dollars back that we are giving the city and the county would be better off!!! Their is no way Natchez can stay up with Vidalia so put it in your pipe and smoke it!!!!  

  • Anonymous

    So I’m curious… Is the purpose of the new recreation complex to give our kids a centralized location to play sports and have fun or is it to make money? I can tell you right now, Natchez can in no way compete to host big tournaments like the Dixie Youth World Series. And what will happen to all of the youth sports factions around the county? Will they dissolve to all play at the new complex? What will happen to all of the other ball fields around town? Will they turn into overgrown fields?   It would be good to see some of these things answered..

  • Anonymous

    To answer your question… YES!!! Duncan Park, etc. will become a thing of the past. Instead of utilizing and updating the park, they want to spend a gazillion dollars for this COMPLEX….And by the way…IT IS TO MAKE MONEY. They could care less about local teams; they want the big tournaments to come here. Can’t you see it now? We have 1000 rooms and they want to bring 5000 in…:):)

  • Anonymous

    To answer all your questions, I can only quote what I have been told in the past when I have asked many of these same questions: ” This has already been addressed and answered in articles run by the paper.”  That is all we need to know.

  • khakirat

    They want to tax the beat up taxpayers so a certain few can profit off the taxpayers but thats the Natchez Way huh”!!!

  • Anonymous

    Who cares what Bilbo Hobdy or Frodo Hobdy thinks?