WINONA – Additional improvements at the Winona Recreational Park may be in the future to keep the facility competitive as a location for state and regional baseball and softball tournaments.
Winona Park Director Mike Narmour is currently getting cost estimates to install artificial turf on four ball fields.
“If we don’t continue to make improvements, we will be left behind,” Narmour said.
Artificial turf prevents tournament rainouts, something that has plagued Winona this past ball season.
“It can rain 12 inches and within 30 minutes, you can play on the field,” Narmour said. “It will also cut down on [field] maintenance.”
Narmour said other cities in Mississippi have been installing artificial turf at their baseball and softball facilities, and the City of Grenada plans to construct a new facility that includes artificial turf in the next two years. He said now that Winona has initiated a two percent tourism tax, the city has the funds to continue to make improvements to the Winona Recreational Park.
Alderman Mickey Austin asked Narmour to put together a breakdown of revenue data for the board along with cost estimates to install artificial turf.
“The park has really been improving over the past few years,” Austin said.
Currently, recreational soccer is wrapping up its fall season at the park, with hundreds of players and fans filling the park two nights each week.
“We have two more nights of soccer, [tonight] and Monday night,” Narmour said.
In other city business:
The board accepted the resignations of Quantarius Tate and Cody Ward from the Winona Street Department. Street Superintendent Tony Palmertree said his department currently has three vacant positions. However, he feels like he can make do until the spring with weekly grass cutting winding down.
The board may have to consider a garbage rate increase after the garbage collection company, Waste Management, announced a 2.88 percent increase this year. According to Winona City Clerk June Williams, the city collects $414,588.01 in fees annually from its garbage customers. However, collection expenses, which includes a portion of the personnel expenses for the limb disposal truck, is $460,070.
Williams said Winona currently has garbage pickup two days each week, and the city can’t alter that until the current sanitation contract is up in two years. She said she would research other communities that provide twice-weekly pickup and see what their rates.
Mayor Jerry Flowers said he attended a workshop Tuesday about distributions of internet use tax from the state to municipalities and counties for infrastructure improvements. Those hoping to receive funds will have to present a grant application by August 2019 with funds being released in 2020.