Lease agreement for four Joplin ball parks doesn’t pass immediately, what’s next for potential tenant

Joplin Sports Authority voices concerns about potential lease

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Joplin City Council failed to pass an emergency ordinance at Monday night’s meeting which would have approved a lease agreement between Parkwood Tournament, LLC and the city for four of the city’s ball parks.

Four ball fields in Joplin are in the lease contract, Wendell Redden, the Gene Bassman Softball Complex, Gabby Street Field, and Joe Becker Stadium. Mike Greninger with Parkwood Tournament says “Basically we’re just looking at the opportunity to rent some of the city facilities to be able to conduct tournaments, leagues, we’d like to see more activity there.”

Mike Greninger is one of three men involved with Parkwood Tournament LLC. Greninger says they were hopeful for passage of the lease contract Monday night. “We’re a little disappointed but there’s not things that we can’t work through, I think some people still have some questions that we’re willing to answer.”

Right now, the parks department and it’s staff are responsible for staffing the fields when they’re in use, however, if Parkwood does get the lease, that would change. Parks Director Paul Bloomberg says “So we use full-time staff, which you know, Monday through Friday, they work 40 hours, so the weekends it’s overtime, so that cost will go away.”

Bloomberg says it will allow the parks department to move those staff to other needs in the city, including park beautification. However, not everybody is excited about the contract. The Joplin Sports Authority says they feel they’ve been put off in left field. JSA Board Chair Roger Doman says “We actually got a contract in our hands a week ago so we didn’t have very much time to really look through it, digest it, and look at the items that were being identified as a problem.”

Roger Doman says the Sports Authority has been bringing in tournaments and filling facilities for the past 25 years, and the JSA is concerned about the future, if the lease is approved. “We just don’t know how it’s going to affect our customers, we don’t know how it’s going to affect the ability to continue doing business the way we’ve been doing it for a long time, so we’re just glad we got a little more time to look at things

Doman says they have been contacted by Parkwood for discussions. Greninger says under the lease, nothing the Sports Authority does now, would be affected by the change.

The contract will be up for second and third reading at the first council meeting in November.