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Harper

The new park project in Grayson was officially named the Carter County Sports Park Complex during groundbreaking ceremonies last year, but since then it has been informally referred to as the Grayson Sports Park in meetings, releases, and other communications.

The board moved to make the Grayson Sports Park name official for marketing to travel teams, during their regular meeting last Thursday.

New sports park manager Grant Harper told the park board that he felt the name should reflect the city, so that teams and organizations who might come to or schedule events at the park had no confusion about where they were going.

Park board president Mindy Woods-Click agreed, noting that “simplicity is best” in logos and marketing.

Harper told the board that he had gone ahead and pre-emptively purchased the domain name GraysonSportsPark.com and that he saw the Grayson name as more applicable to the park's “extended marketing,” as a place for travel teams to host events.

For locals, he said, the focus on things like the splash pad, walking trails, playgrounds and the sensory garden were also still a priority. The sports facilities, however, “will be what brings in outsiders,” Harper said.

Harper also asked for volunteers or nominations from the board to a logo committee, that he could run ideas by before bringing a design to the board for approval.

Harper also discussed things like naming rights to different fields and amenities in the park, and the possible establishment of a foundation for accepting charitable donations.

Board member Mark Strother said that in some instances, such as one-time gift contributions, donations could pass through the non-profit Carter County Recreation Alliance to the park. But, he said, if someone wanted to set up an endowment in their name for the park, it might be worthwhile to set up a foundation for handling those funds.

“The Recreation Alliance needs to have a meeting,” Strother said, explaining that they would discuss the idea in more detail during that meeting.

Harper emphasized that he didn't want to seem as though the park was begging for money in soliciting donations. The park, he said, should be self-sufficient, but that donations allowed businesses and community members the opportunity to “be partners” in the growth of the park.

Harper said he was definitely looking at sustainable and continuous growth with the park. He explained that he would like to start with a small tournament, with around five teams, and then speak to hotel and restaurant owners and managers, and see what the impact was on their business, and if they would need to make any changes to handle bigger crowds.

“Then we'd say, 'Okay. Next week we'll have a tournament with ten teams,' and see how that worked,” he said.

He said he wants to make sure restaurants and hotels weren't overwhelmed with traffic and as a result giving visitors a bad experience.

“We're not a $10 million park yet,” Harper said, emphasizing the word, “yet.”

The park will need to grow into that role, he said, “so it's a good experience for visitors and businesses.”

Woods-Click thanked Harper for his work, noting that his marketing background was already paying dividends or the future of the park, and that he was already looking at the park's potential in ways the board hadn't considered.

In other action the park board heard from construction project manager John Brammer on the progress at the park. Brammer said that testing for soil and cement was moving forward with Thoroughbred and that so far there were “no issues” with work at the park, though he did note that uncooperative weather had held up some progress. Despite those weather related delays, however, Brammer said work on the park was progressing on schedule.

Contact the writer at jwells@journal-times.com.

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