LUMBERTON — The Lumberton Tourism Development Authority on Monday presented a $500,000 check to the city of Lumberton to be used by the Recreation Department for improvement projects at Northeast Park, including preparation for the Dixie Youth World Series to be held in Lumberton in July and August 2018.
The money comes from the city’s 6 percent hotel-motel occupancy tax. State law mandates that the money must be used to promote tourism.
Several members of the authority were present for the presentation, which Mayor Bruce Davis said “sets my soul on fire.”
According to Arnold West, a Lumberton restaurant owner and chairman of the authority, it receives more than $1 million a year from the occupancy tax. One third of that revenue goes to the Carolina Civic Center with the rest being used to support marketing of the Lumberton area.
“The $500,000 comes from our marketing reserves,” West said. “Our board is committed to promoting tourism and business in Lumberton. We are committed to our community.”
West said that the authority’s main goal is to “promote positive things going on in the community.”
“We believe in our town, in our youth and providing positive pathways for our youth to follow.”
Bruce Mullis, chairman of the city’s Recreation Commission, said that the World Series will bring to Lumberton 60 teams from a number of states.
Mullis, who is also the treasurer for Friends of Recreation and the Lumberton Youth Baseball Association, is a key person in the establishment of Northeast Park. He told The Robesonian earlier that the money will be used to build an adult softball field that will begin the development of the Andrews tract of the park. That will include another entrance to the park, this one from Meadow Road.
Wayne Horne, Lumberton city manager, told council members that there is already a plan for using the money to prepare the park for the World Series. He added, however, that more resources than $500,000 will have to be found to make all the improvements needed at the park.
“With folks from 24 states filling up our hotels, we have to give them a good reception,” Horne said.
In a related Northeast Park issue, the council agreed to enter into a professional agreement with the Wooten Company for design and construction of a baseball field. The new field, said Tim Taylor, the city’s recreation director, will be designed the same as the five existing fields that will be used during the World Series.
The council also held two public hearings. No members of the public came forward to comment on either issue.
The first hearing concerned a closing of an alley near West Fifth Street. The council agreed unanimously to the closing.
The second hearing was in regards to a conditional-use permit request by Live Oak Engineering and Surveying PLLC. The permit would allow storage of vehicles and materials on property located at 2100 W. Fifth St.
The council members unanimously approved granting the permit.
Among other business conducted during Monday’s meeting, the council:
— Presented a Pride of Lumberton Award to W.C. Washington, owner of Washington’s Men Store. The clothing store recently celebrated 45 years in business.
Receiving the award with Washington was his wife Joan and son Wes.
“These are three super, super people,” said Councilman Erich Hackney. “They’ve made a tremendous impact on this city for half a century.”
— Awarded a contract of $80,480 to KB Power systems for replacement of fire station generators.
— Approved the hiring of Terra Tech to complete the close out environmental spill report required by the state for the First and Town Common Street Warehouse at a not-to-exceed fee of $9,000.
— Approved the purchase of a 2010 Chevrolet passenger van from Baker Chevrolet in Red Springs for $19,087.
— Awarded Columbus Utilities Inc. the Elm Street and First Street sewer repair contract for $115,620.
— Awarded Trigon of Whiteville Inc. a bid of $143,000 for repairs to the Jaycees Hut and a bid of $110,000 for repairs to the Beach House.
— Accepted the estimate of about $334,000 for the establishment of the state mandated backup 911 call center.
— Referred the request to amend Table of Permissible Uses for car washing in B-1 (central business) to the Planning Board for review.
— Awarded the design services for the water plant flood mitigation project to the Wooten Company.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.