Archive for Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Athletic Association to run Field of Dreams

August 22, 2007

Field of Dreams Sports Complex north of Basehor, which plays host to baseball and softball tournaments for players from around the country, has changed management.

After three years of working with a private management company, the Basehor Athletic Association is managing the complex after agreeing with the company that had been running it on a day-to-day basis to terminate the lease.

Jeremy McDowell, whose company Independent Tournaments managed the complex, has left to pursue another job. He first managed the park as an employee of the Basehor Athletic Association.

"Another opportunity came up for him and that was a good opportunity for him to pursue," Basehor Athletic Association board member Mike Chumley said. "We basically mutually terminated the lease. They had a year left.

"The board has just decided we would resume managing the complex as it had been three years ago or so."

Board members met a few times last week to determine the best way to run the complex. They could either hire a new group or person to manage it, or run it on their own. The board chose the latter option.

"We will offer the same programs and tournament schedules," Chumley said. "Hopefully it will be a seamless transition, just some new faces doing some things."

The association plans to continue having the same number of tournaments at the park as it has sponsored, and plans to continue having American Fastpitch Association tournaments. The complex typically attracts players from Colorado, Nebraska, Tennessee, Kansas and Missouri to play in those tournaments.

Four tournaments are planned this fall. During each tournament, the board will appoint a board member to serve as tournament director. It is similar to how the board ran the complex before hiring a manager a few years ago.

Board members also plan to return the park's focus to recreation programs as the fields were designed for originally.

"We want to provide a place for local kids to play ball, which is what it was designed for," Chumley said.

Under association management it will allow more money for field improvements and operating costs rather than paying a full-time employee.

Chumley said he hopes the fields can break even with the recreation leagues and making money off the tournaments will allow them to make field improvements.

The association also has launched a Web site www.baasports.org. Board members are trying to update it every day with more information on leagues and tournaments at the park.

Board members also met with a group of 40 grounds crew and concession employees to discuss the changes at the complex, Chumley said.

"We updated them on where the park is headed and the opportunities there are for them," he said.

Another meeting is Sunday for umpires.

Association members are focused on preparing the fields for the fall tournaments that begin Sept. 7. Members have been working to repair outfield grass that has been ravaged by the summer heat and also are cleaning up the complex.

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