City Council Committee Votes to Allow Private Company to Operate Ball Park

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The Memphis City Council parks committee approved a measure on Tuesday morning to allow the city to enter into a contract with Tri-State Youth Baseball Academy, Inc. to manage and operate Jesse Turner/Bellevue Baseball Park.

The city-owned park is one of nearly 100 city baseball parks not being maintained by the city due to lack of funds and a short-staffed Parks Services department. Currently, the city only maintains three baseball parks, but they are complex lots with a total of 15 fields.

City councilwoman Wanda Halbert expressed some concern with the fees Tri-State plans to charge for use of the park. In the example she gave, if 10 teams want to play in a baseball tournament under Tri-State's management, they would have to pay $150 per team. Under the city's management, the same 10 teams would only have to pay $32 each. Halbert proposed an amendment that would allow the council to study how those fees are being used by Tri-State with the option of requiring them to lower the fees if the council deems it necessary.

A representative from Tri-State said the fees would be used to improve the park by re-sodding the field, repairing fencing and bleachers, and adding a new baseball diamond for younger players.

The full council will discuss the item in their meeting at 3:30 p.m. today.

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