The El Dorado-Union County Recreation Complex Board are still working out the details for a proposal to allow the use of the complex as a paid parking site for the new Murphy Arts District.
During a meeting last month, Steve Harrell, athletic director for the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado — who manages the recreation complex on Champagnolle Road — told board members that he was in talks to provide paid parking and shuttle service for visitors who are expected in town for events of the new Murphy Arts District.
The $100-million arts and entertainment district is under construction in Downtown El Dorado.
The grand opening celebration for MAD is set for Sept. 27 — Oct. 1 with a series of concerts featuring Smokey Robinson, ZZ Top, Ludacris, Brad Paisley, Lyle Lovett, Migos, Train and other well known acts.
Using the complex parking lot for MAD weekends will create a new revenue stream for the recreation facility, Harrell told complex board members on August 12.
“That’s going to bring in more money than tournaments,” Harrell said at the time.
With a few weeks to consider the proposal, board members posed plenty of questions on Friday.
After considerable discussion, board members agreed to procure firm answers “before anything is signed.”
Board member Will Crowder, also a member of the Union County Quorum Court, inquired about liability for the transportation/parking service and lighting in the parking lot.
“One question I’ve gotten is who’s the liability on if someone gets run over?” he asked.
“Who’s liable is someone gets run over during a tournament?” Harrell countered.
Mayor Frank Hash said Union County insures the property.
The city and county contribute to the annual operational budget for the complex.
Harrell has said that he is working with the El Dorado Police Department to provide on-site security for the parking lot, and the Boys and Girls Club will cover a portion of the shuttle service.
He said MAD is furnishing two busses, and the BGCE will provide a third.
Drop-offs and pickups will be scheduled every 30 minutes between the complex and Downtown El Dorado, Harrell said.
Stacy Scroggins, board treasurer, pressed for more information about how the shuttle service will be structured, focusing on such issues as who will be responsible for drivers, passengers, collecting money, etc.
Harrell said the BGCE has staff in place to collect money. He also reiterated that pavilions rentals will be suspended on weekends during MAD events.
He previously told board members there are 200 – 250 parking spots at the complex.
“We need to meet again when the details are finalized so we can decide whether we want to do it or not,” Scroggins said.
Crowder said the board should also make sure that liability rests with the county.
“If something happens, we need to make sure that it will be covered by county insurance. This will be different from tournaments. There will be shuttle busses coming in and out,” Crowder said. “I will get with (Union County Judge Mike) Loftin and have him research it. We need to make sure we have this all in place before we sign anything.”
Crowder called another safety issue into question.
“The lighting in the parking lot parameter is not good. There’s been a couple kids almost get run over because the lighting is bad,” he said.
“That’s an issue for y’all. Y’all need to approve it as a board,” Harrell said.
He also reminded the board that its next regular monthly will not be held until after the grand opening of MAD.
After further discussion, the board tentatively scheduled a special meeting for noon on Sept. 8 in the second-floor conference room of City Hall to finalize the details of the paid parking arrangement with MAD.
Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or tlyons@ eldoradonews.com.