RIDGELAND, MS (WLBT) - They say if you build it, they will come.
Ridgeland is hoping by installing turf at a cost of $1 million on the infields at Freedom Ridge Park, they’ll hit a home run--into a field of dreams--when it comes to tax revenues.
Ridgeland Parks and Recreation director Chris Chance said, “It’s a competitive marketplace, everyone wants to attract those visitors to the city to do different things; play soccer, baseball, softball and just to stay ahead of that curve. This is one improvement we can make. I won’t eliminate rain-outs, and hopefully make us more attractive for people visiting to come here for tournaments.”
Turf requires less maintenance, so there will also be savings there.
The city hosts nearly 30 tournaments a year, which they could be able to expand.
The hope is the investment into the park gives them more tax returns from people who are coming to town to play ball.
“We want them to stay in our hotels. We want them to eat in our restaurants. We want them to visit our local businesses,” says Chance.
Tourism officials believe the ball field upgrades could directly impact local tax revenues.
Chris Chapman with Visit Ridgeland says, “We know that once we get them here, we know they’re going to get a return, we know that investment is going to build over time, and it’s a very positive move for the City of Ridgeland.”
The turf would be paid for through a bond package that would include funding for other projects in the city, avoiding a tax increase for residents.
Once funding is secured, work could begin as early as May 1st, with the new infields completed by early fall.