Monday, June 25, 2012

Ber Juan Sportsplex is Mecca for sporting events

By Rolla Mayor Bill Jenks, III
Summertime in Rolla means baseball, softball (fast pitch and slow pitch) and lots of high caliber tournaments at the Ber Juan Sportsplex located in Ber Juan Park (off 18th Street) in Rolla.
These highly competitive and entertaining games and tournaments, which are organized and operated through the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, have brought a significant level of notoriety and state-wide exposure to the Ber Juan Sportsplex where it’s not uncommon for 60 to 80 softball (fast and slow pitch) and baseball games to be played over the course of one weekend. In addition to providing great recreational and social opportunities at one of the premiere sportplexes in Outstate Missouri, these games and tournaments are bringing in hundreds of players and visitors who are staying at local hotels, shopping at our stores, dining at  restaurants, and getting fuel, ice and drinks at our service stations.
To illustrate how parks and recreation departments are one of the engines of tourism and economic development not only in Rolla but throughout the country, an Economic Impact Report was done on the Black Ice Girls’ Fastpitch Tournament held June 1-3, 2012 at the Ber Juan Sportsplex. It’s important to note that the Black Ice tournament did not include any teams from Phelps County or the surrounding counties, and that all the teams were from the state of Missouri. Based on 35 surveys that were completed over three days, the 29 visiting teams accounted for over 1,300 total visitors each day for a 3-day total of nearly 4,000. The total amount of money spent in Rolla was just over $150,000, and 31 of the 35 survey participants said they would not have come to Rolla at this time if this event had not been held.  In short, the Ber Juan Sportsplex is an economic and tourism boom to the Rolla and Phelps County area, and we are glad to see the type of high level athletic events and sports tourism that are generated from all the tournament play at the Ber Juan Sports Complex.
The Parks and Recreation Department staff is doing a great job hosting these tournaments, and maintaining all the ball fields, concession stands and park area while ensuring the fields and facilities are in top-notch condition. And judging by the amount and quality of the teams and athletes that travel from several states in the Mid-West and beyond to compete in the softball and baseball tournaments at Ber Juan, there’s no denying that the Ber Juan Sportsplex has become a high priority on the radar screen for the sporting world.
In addition to all the sporting events taking place at Ber Juan, there are also numerous high school level basketball and volleyball teams participating in the well known Licking Tournaments that are held every summer at The Centre, Rolla’s Health and Recreation complex, located just around the bend in Ber Juan Park. Hundreds of athletes and their families and friends attend these highly sought after camps, and they too are spending considerable time in the Rolla are while they are attending the camps, staying in hotels, shopping, dinging, getting fuel, etc. The staff at The Centre and the Parks and Recreation Department have all done an outstanding job hosting these camps year after year, and the rising attendance, and popularity of the camps are a testament to the great facilities, service and hospitality that is provided to the players, coaches and spectators.
One of the added benefits for teams who participate in the tournaments at the Ber Juan Sportsplex is the close proximity to SplashZone, Rolla’s outdoor water park, located just down the street off 14th Street next to the Ber Juan Tennis Complex. Players, spectators and visitors can wind down and cool off at this great outdoor facility.
Enjoy the weekend and have a safe week!

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