By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal
Commerce hosted the 2012 Dixie Darlings State Tournament for girls ages 7 and 8 at the Eddie Moore Sports Complex. The softball tournament began with an opening ceremony July 13.
“We fed everyone Friday night,” Commerce Parks and Recreation Director Ricky Harris. “We had bounce houses for the children and goodie bags filled with t-shirts, water bottles and other items for the players.”
Each February, Texas cities bid for these softball tournaments which bring dozens of visitors and an increase in hotel/motel and sales tax revenue.
“In February there is a state meeting, and we have to bid on these tournaments,” Harris said. “Softball tournmanets are awarded based on what you’re going to do for the teams and the girls that come to your
The money raised by the tournament will go directly back into the Parks and Recreation Department, according to Harris
“Over the last three years we’ve put up new fencing, upgraded our restrooms, which were badly in need of that, and upgraded the lighting,” Harris said. “We are continuing to come up with projects to beautify the parks and get them all up to speed because they haven’t had a ton of work done to them over the past 10 to 15 years.”
The tournaments can only be awarded to a specific city every other year. The revenue generated by the tournament also extends to cities like Greenville and Sulphur Springs, where some of the teams and parents stay. This is good news for the city, which has collected approximately $4,000 less in hotel/motel taxes through three-fourths of the 2011-2012 fiscal year, according to Commerce Finance Manager Warren Jamieson.
“Hats off to the council for recognizing it has to be done,” Harris said. “Bringing the teams in helps our hotel/motel fund, sales tax.”
Response from players and parents has been great so far, according to Harris and members of the Commerce City Council.
“From all the feedback I’m getting from teams and parents, they’ve been very pleased with upkeep of the complex,” Harris said. “The state director said this is the best one out of six [tournaments being held across the state].”
The softball tournment will concluded Wednesday, July 18. The Hopkins County team defeated Pineland to advance to the Dixie Darlings World Series, beginning July 28.