Stillwater News Press

Local News

July 16, 2013

Stillwater sports and recreation could get new manager

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater has found an organization that will voluntarily run the city’s sports and recreation programs — Stillwater Area Sports Association.

Kevin Fowler, Stillwater Area Sports Association board member, credited the parks and recreational department of Stillwater for doing a great job managing the sports recreational programs. The sports organization will build on what parks and recreation has established, he said.

With previous success from nonprofit organizations taking charge of areas in Stillwater, such as the Multi Arts Center and Lake McMurtry, the city has decided to listen to a contract idea with SASA.

Approximately a year ago, the city established the Friends of the Multi Arts Inc. and Lake McMurtry Friends Inc. Throughout the previous year, the programs have had tremendous success, Mayor John Bartley said. He said if SASA can have as much success as these two programs, it would benefit the Stillwater community.

Fowler presented the idea of SASA taking charge of the Stillwater sports recreational programs at Monday’s city council meeting. Like the friends programs, the city council wanted to make sure SASA could be self-sustainable and would not disregard any of the existing recreational sports programs.

“Fundamentally, the rec programs are very, very important to us,” Fowler said.

“We look to expand on those programs. I feel like there is room to grow, certainly in basketball but in baseball and softball as well.”

Fowler said the plan would be for the city of Stillwater to have more tournaments, especially in baseball and softball programs. He compared having tournaments to Oklahoma State University’s revenue during football and basketball season.

Like OSU’s football and basketball teams, which fund the other sports programs at OSU, the tournaments will be the driving force for SASA revenue, he said.

Fowler said SASA would like to have at least six baseball or softball tournaments a year. An 80-team tournament could bring in revenue of $20,000 in sales tax.

Right now, there are three baseball tournaments and two softball tournaments a year, Fowler said.

Fowler said he gives credit to the Stillwater youth baseball programs for making them work.

The sports association will also start incorporating more adult sports, too, Fowler said. He said he wanted sports to be offered to everybody and not a select few.

The city’s plan is to have a collaboration effort with SASA to have a recommended contract brought to the city council at a later date. Once there is a contract the city is comfortable with, it will start considering incorporating SASA to run Stillwater recreational sports programs.

Bartley said if SASA can run the sports programs as well as the other two newly incorporated nonprofits managed their programs, the city will be willing to make it work.

Fowler said he thinks the program can be successful and the goal would be for it to be self-sustainable without any funding from the city. Bartley said the city has had success with a public private relationship with the soccer association and the city has experience with this kind of management.

He said the success of the soccer club is easy to see and he feels this program will be successful, too.

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