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Rain delays maintenance, improvement projects for complex

By Tia Lyons
This article was published March 3, 2018 at 5:00 a.m.

Several improvement and maintenance projects have been delayed for the El Dorado-Union County Recreation Complex due to rainy weather that has drenched the area over the past several weeks.

Steve Harrell — athletic director of the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado, who contracts with the city of El Dorado to manage the complex — told board members Friday that work has been put on hold to install new roofs on eight dugouts on the four fields on the north end of the facility.

The worn roofs will be replaced with insulated roofing panels, which have been purchased and come with a lifetime guarantee.

Other projects that are on tap for the complex in 2018 are the addition of a roof to a small gazebo near the concession stand and the relocation of an irrigation box.

“Robert Edmonds, the (El Dorado) public works director is waiting for the weather to clear up,” Harrell said.

Inclement weather is also making it difficult for complex workers to prepare the softball and baseball fields for the busiest time of the year at the complex, he said.

Harrell said several games and tournaments have already been scheduled for 2018 and he receives daily requests from area teams to schedule the fields for practices.

To reserve a field for practice, email Harrell at educcomplex@gmail.com.

Master plan

Work is ongoing to prepare a funding request for the El Dorado Works Board to help implement a master improvement and expansion plan for the complex.

Board members recently commissioned ETC Engineers and Architects, Inc., of Little Rock, to tweak a master plan that was developed in 2014 by local firm CADM Architecture, Inc.

In February, Carr made presentations to the complex board and the Union County Quorum Court to help drum up support for the improvement plan.

Proposed work initially focused on the addition of more fields, the completion of the two existing fields on the south end of the complex and expanded parking areas.

The amended plan incorporated those ideas and focused on other ares of the complex, including adding a water feature and upgrading the RV sites.

Carr told quorum court members that an anonymous group has offered financial assistance and requested that the complex board consider a college-level baseball field.

Carr has said the cost of the master plan will depend on the features that will be included in the final design concept of the master plan.

Complex board members agreed to review the options and return with their recommendations, so the master plan can be again revised with firmer budget estimates.

Board members will then prepare a funding request for the El Dorado Works Board, which administers the city’s one-cent tax for economic development.

The temporary tax was approved by El Dorado voters in 2015 and is expected to generate $50 million over its 10-year life.

Fifteen percent of tax revenues was dedicated to community development, which includes 5 percent for sports, recreation and outdoor venues or projects.

If the funding request is approved by the EWB, it will then be presented to the El Dorado City Council for final approval.

Sponsorships

Clark Hale of the Diamond Agency also reported Friday that the agency has secured more corporate and business sponsorships for signs and banners at the complex.

To date, the complex will net $2,337.50 in sponsorship revenue.

The previously agreed to contract with the Diamond Agency to pursue sponsorships to help boost income for the complex.

Hale said the sponsorship payments are being remitted to Union County, who keeps the books for the facility.

The city and county contribute to the annual budget for the complex.

Due to a lack of a quorum Friday, the complex board did not conduct any official business.

Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or by email at tlyons@eldoradonews.com.

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