• 54°

Baseball gives city big boost

The 2011 State Dixie Baseball Tournament for 7&8 all-stars, which will be conducted in Hartselle Friday through Wednesday, July 15-20, couldn’t come at a better time.

The city depends heavily on sales tax revenue to keep its wheels turning and merchants need sales to collect the taxes and keep their doors open.

This tournament, the product of a leap of faith and a year of planning, will bring to town 15 youth baseball teams from across the state, in addition to their coaches, parents, grandparents and other fans. Many of them will rent motel rooms, patronize food establishments, shop at antique and specialty stores and fill their automobiles with gasoline before they return home.

What a shot in the arm this is to an economy that is dragging and looking for a boost.

The decision local Dixie League officials made a year ago to go out on a limb and make a bid for the statewide event would not have happened had they not been convinced that support from the community would be forthcoming.

That support is evident. City officials welcomed the opportunity to bring new business activity to town, Parks & Recreation Department personnel made a commitment to get the playing fields in top shape and maintain them throughout the tournament and a large number of volunteers from both inside and outside of the Dixie Youth Baseball League stepped forward eager to help.

In addition, state grant money was obtained with the help of State Senator Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, to make improvements to the fields and grounds and Hartselle High School Key Club and National Honor Society members pledged support as volunteer workers.

The level of backing this event has received leaves one to wonder why the city’s leaders have not been more proactive in the past to attract high profile youth sports events.

It definitely is not because we don’t have the recreational facilities to support such events. Where can you go to find ball fields that are more attractive and better maintained than Hartselle’s?

Perhaps that will change in the future. You can help by attending the games this weekend and support the Hartselle American 7&8 all-stars as they compete for a state championship.