Rec Complex needs concessions workers, umpires

The El Dorado-Union County Recreation Complex is seen in this News-Times file photo.
The El Dorado-Union County Recreation Complex is seen in this News-Times file photo.

In January, the El Dorado-Union County Recreation Complex Commission cited the need to fill multiple positions, including concessions, umpires and part-time maintenance, in preparation for the busy season.

Two months later, the busy season is in full swing and the situation remains virtually unchanged.

David Lee, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado -- who operates and manages the complex and the facility's concessions stands, per annual contracts with the city of El Dorado and the complex, respectively --, said earlier this month that only the part-time maintenance position has been filled.

"We still need concession stand workers and umpires," Lee told the commission during a regular meeting on March 3.

With two additional concession stands expected to open at the complex this season and play starting up on two soccer fields and eight baseball/softball fields, at least 15 positions are available to help concession operations run smoothly and to umpire games this year at the complex.

Workers are needed to man an existing concession stand that serves four baseball/softball fields on the north side of the complex and two others, kiosks, that will serve four baseball/softball fields and two soccer fields on the south of the facility.

The used kiosks were donated by Murphy USA, which uses the structures at many of its gasoline stations/convenience stores across the country.

In a coordinated effort between the city of El Dorado and Union County, the kiosks were delivered last year to El Dorado from Georgia and installed at the complex.

Last month, commissioners agreed to move forward with plumbing hookups, the installation of a grinder pump and fitting the kiosks with tin roofs -- all at an estimated cost of $45,000.

Lee and commissioners stressed the need for dependable workers, noting that the former concessions manager reported that holding on to reliable employees has been an ongoing problem.

Greg Harrison, chairman of the Rec Complex Commission, said the issue has affected service at the concession stands and led to complaints from patrons and visitors.

"She's dealt with it for a while. There's been a lot of turnover and employees not showing up. They're not reliable," Lee said, adding the manager would sometimes be the only employee to report for work when scheduled.

Lee and commissioners have also heard from patrons about the matter.

"They complain about us only having one window open. Well, when you have four workers and only two show up when they're scheduled come in, you can't operate more than one window with two people," said Harrison.

A new concessions manager, Judy Richards, has been hired.

The first tournament on the 2023 schedule for the complex was held March 4.

With more tournaments and games slated later this month and in April, May and June, commissioners said Richards needs to assemble a staff as soon as possible.

Umpires are also needed to call baseball and softball games.

Lee said the jobs will pay at least $11 an hour, which is the minimum wage rate in Arkansas.

Harrison said the jobs are ideal for teens and young adults, noting that weekend schedules will likely be the busiest.

A traffic count that was taken about five years ago clocked approximately 50,000 people filtering in and out of the complex during a tournament.

Commission members have said the number is likely higher now.

"It's rotational hours," said Harrison. "We definitely need people to help with concessions and collectively. It depends on the skill set and what people are willing to do."

For more information or to apply for a job at the complex, call Lee at 870-863-8753.

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