Brownwood council OKs action related to sports, personnel

Steve Nash / Brownwood Bulletin
The 10U Glory Sheffield girls are pictured finishing in first place at last weekend's Turkey Bash Tournament at the Bert Massey Sports Complex, concluding the fall season. Brownwood City Council members have approved upgrades for the softball fields.

In addition to discussing the COVID crisis, the Brownwood City Council took up several matters Tuesday morning related to sports and personnel.

Council members ratified earlier action by the Brownwood Municipal Development District to fund up to $20,000 for upgrades to the Bert V. Massey II Sports Complex Softball Fields that opened in the spring of 2011.

The fields need infield playing surface re-grading and new clay added for Yellow Fields 1-4, council members were told.

The last 10 years the infield surface has deteriorated from rain wash off and normal wear from league and tournament usage, the council was told.

Paragon Sports, who recently did work on the baseball complex for similar issues, has submitted a quote of $28,525.

Paragon is a Buy Board vendor. Funding will be allocated with $20,000 coming from the Brownwood Municipal Development District Parks and Recreation budget line; $5,000 from the City of Brownwood with city manager authorization; and $3,525 from the softball association, council members were told.

Since 2017, softball tournaments at the complex have produced:

• $2.2 million in sports tourism economic impact

• 5,460 hotel overnight stays

• 43,000 sports tourism visitors

• Brownwood Sports and Brownwood Girls Softball Association have become the third largest softball tournament producer behind Midland and Temple,

Additionally, USA Softball of Texas has guaranteed a 2021 state tournament to Brownwood and is working to get clinics approved in Brownwood that feature Team USA payers and former Olympian softball players, council members were told.

In other action, council members approved City Manager Emily Crawford's appointment of Roland Soto as community event facilities and sports complex director and Henry Wied as interim parks and recreation director.

Crawford, addressing the council remotely, saying:

"Since David Withers’ retirement announcement, I have considered how to move forward with the departments that he managed. With the approval of the new event center, the Community Facilities department will be changing to meet the needs of a new multipurpose center. I felt we needed to create a department head position specifically for Community Facilities and take it out of the umbrella of Parks and Rec.

"The sports complexes are similar to the event and meeting facilities, in that they are utilized by the citizens, but they are also a significant tourism draw. For that reason, I want to put the sports complexes into the Community Facilities department. I am recommending Roland Soto as the Director for Community Facilities and Sports Complexes. He has worked for the city for three years and has built relationships with local and state leagues that have generated a tremendous amount of activity and tourism. Prior to moving back to Brownwood, Roland spent 10 years working for resort hotels as a golf pro and event manager. He has successfully recruited and serviced hundreds of convention and sporting groups. Roland has the experience, energy, and vision to lead the Community Facilities and Sports Complex Department."

Addressing the position of interim parks and recreation director, Crawoford said,

"I did not want to be rushed to fill the Parks and Recreation Director, knowing that the department is going to be changing with the sports complexes moved into Community Facilities. We have strong supervisors in Parks and Rec, so I think we can take some time to evaluate what the department needs moving forward.

"I opened the position as an Interim position for an existing Department Head to take on in addition to their other duties. I am recommending Henry Wied as the interim Parks & Rec director. Henry is the Utility Director and has been with the city for four years. Prior to joining the City of Brownwood, he spent 17 years at the Red River Water Authority. Henry is a high-capacity person who likes to take on new challenges. He has brought efficiency and new systems to the Utility departments. The Interim assignment will last through the end of this fiscal year so that we can make a long-term plan and budget for it accordingly. Henry is in Florida spending Thanksgiving with his daughter, so is unable to be here today."

Crawford added that both men are dedicated to city, the citizens, and are committed to the I SERVE Core Values.

"I know they will bring the best out of these departments and our personnel," Crawford said. "Because we are using existing personnel, but modifying their positions, we are not increasing the budget."