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Oct 20

Proposed First Volleyball Operation

Posted on October 20, 2017 at 10:39 AM by Darren Musselwhite

As I promised the citizens of Southaven in 2013, I have reviewed all City operations, including facilities, and recommended changes where needed to improve our city from an aggregate perspective. Specifically, I have communicated the importance of revitalizing the original business district in our city.  This is one of the most challenging tasks for any city and does not happen overnight, but it starts by simply creating more interest and bringing more customers back to the area. No single thing does this, but all contribute to a larger picture. One piece of this plan is better use of our Arena. This facility was built to be a horse/rodeo/western sport facility years ago. This never materialized for the City, so it is now used sparingly for assemblies, flea markets, and trade shows. My assessment is that this awesome facility is grossly under-utilized and could do much more for our city.


I have listened, researched, and contemplated many potential uses and cannot write every thought process here, but believe the best use of the facility is for volleyball. Volleyball offers great opportunities for young ladies and has great demand. It will bring a tremendous increase in activity to our Arena and customers for revitalization with both weekend events and weekday league and training. This is my recommendation to our Board of Aldermen. This has not been approved yet.


There is a proposal from a local Desoto County organization named Desoto Legacy to help us start the program.  Many questions have been asked, so I hope to answer directly as follows...


The proposal is for DL to pay the City $5,500 monthly in exchange for exclusive use of 4 courts. They will operate the City's first league and coordinate weekend tournaments for the City. All 7 courts will be used for tournaments, but at all other times 3 will be open to the public with no usage fee. During league events, all 7 will be used for our public league. The league will have a fee similar to other sports leagues ($45-$55 for residents, $90 for others). DL keeps tourney entry fees and pays referees. City gets gate and concession revenue. The season is from October-May. This agreement benefits the City by not hiring new personnel and having immediate access to knowledgeable instructors. The contract itself generates more revenue than other current uses. Tourism and revitalization benefits are in addition to this.


The City manages facility and retains general authority of the facility's usage and league, but allows designated courts and weekends for tourneys. 


City will attempt to allow as many current events as possible that do not conflict with volleyball. Examples: Crystal Ball, Veteran's Luncheon, others that do not involve driving vehicles on the floor. The floor can withstand foot traffic, but not the weight of automobiles. Covers do not change this. Most others can be accommodated at other city facilities. 


The floor is removable, but not practical to do frequently due to manpower, cost, and decreased life expectancy with wear and tear. It consists of over 40,000 pieces. The most notable challenge is flea market events 12 times annually. It will be difficult to hold these events from October-May during the peak opportunities for volleyball tourneys.  This is workable during the other months of the year. These challenges are also temporary as leveling the Arena floor may allow enough space to accommodate most without floor removal. I recommend this project as soon as funding is available and hopefully by 2019.


The proposed term of the contract is January 1, 2018 until May 31, 2020 with an option to terminate after May 31, 2018.


In summary and as I have stated publicly, I recommend that volleyball start in our City operation. We can certainly make changes and improve the operation as we gain experience with this new venture. The contract allows for flexibility. 


Finally, as we consider change and blazing a new trail, I will remind everyone that it is impossible to make decisions that serve every person's preference, but I make recommendations on what I assess to benefit the City from an aggregate perspective and hope everyone will join me in seeing a bigger picture.


"Don't let perfect be an enemy to good."