I have probably had more people tell me “complete Acme Brick Park” than any other one subject since I arrived on the council. Being a believer that we must find ways to attract people to Clinton, I have a great interest in the park. It has been a long winding road. In the late 1990’s I stood before the council and spoke about the sad state of our softball fields. The problem those councils faced is how do you finance and pay for a large park including ball fields? Original councils decided to cut the park into phases and left the ball fields on the back burner. Unfortunately, I felt those councils got it backward. Build the revenue enhancing facilities first, and the revenue intensive facilities later. During the sales tax meetings in 2004, it was very apparent that the citizens wanted the ball fields finished. The sales tax for the completion of phase 2 was passed by a strong margin and appeared to provide about 2 million dollars towards phase 2. The current council has decided to borrow 4.5 million dollars to enable the completion of the park, instead of creating a Phase 3 and waiting for future revenue. We believe if Clinton continues to enjoy strong sales tax, a large part of the 4.5 dollars will be retired with the earmarked sales tax revenue and free revenue from interest on hospital authority investments.
It does not take long to see how youth baseball and softball can bring large numbers of people to Clinton. If you figure 20 teams in a tourney, with 15 players each team and just a couple of parents traveling with their children you have 500 to 1000 people coming to the games at a minimum. Each weekend during June and July those tournaments go on somewhere for different age groups. Our friends and families travel to other cities and Clinton misses out because we lack the fields to handle these tournaments. When you play in a tournament at a distance, often times you stay in a hotel and do lots of shopping to fill the time when you don’t play. We are counting on our fields bringing some of those tournaments (and revenue) to Clinton.
We also have the nature trail going into the phase 2, with the ponds. The council has pushed to set up definite times for our train to run, so people coming to the park can count on being able to ride the train. We continue to try to improve the fitness center at Acme Brick Park. This complex is definitely going to be an outstanding attraction for years to come. I look forward to ground breaking for phase 2 in the next few months.