HOT SPRINGS – The City of Hot Springs has formed a new department, with Nathan Neighbors at the helm as the city’s inaugural Sport Recreation Operations Manager.
Sport Recreation is the new department that reflects the city’s renewed focus on Kimery Park and the rehabilitation of the park’s softball fields in time for league play in late spring. Neighbors will manage and develop the city’s Sport Recreation activities. His first priority will be to manage the rehabilitation of Kimery Park’s four infields and establish realistic timelines for the programs that it immediately affects: adult and youth softball; industrial, church and senior leagues; and youth fast pitch leagues. Neighbors will also create partnerships for marketing, sponsorships and advertising; initiate registration for league play; locate practice space for teams to utilize before construction is completed; and communicate the program changes to the public.
“We’re excited about the new direction for Kimery,” said Neighbors. “Overall, youth and adult league participants have been very supportive of our plans, and they’re willing to wait until the improvements are made. When it’s completed, Kimery Park will have the only municipal softball complex in Arkansas with synthetic turf infields. We’ve also had lots of interest shown by outside tournament agencies. The playing surface allows for consistent event scheduling due to its superior drainage capabilities. You can play 20 minutes after a downpour. This can conceivably increase our playing season from 25 weeks to at least 40 weeks annually.”
At least 75,000 people visit Kimery Park annually for softball, soccer, kickball and tennis. Each adult softball league brings in about 350 people, while youth leagues bring about 675. The park was closed last fall due to declining condition of the ballfields and extensive drainage problems. In partnership with the Hot Springs Advertising & Promotion Commission, the city plans to install artificial turf on its four softball fields, address the drainage issues, add electronic scoreboards, and more.
Neighbors, who holds a degree in speech communications from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, is a Fountain Lake graduate and Hot Springs native. He is in his sixth year with the City of Hot Springs, having worked in the Parks & Recreation and Engineering departments. He and his wife Kate have 18-month-old twins, Harper and Kennedy. For information, contact Neighbors at firstname.lastname@example.org , 321-6946 or visit the new City of Hot Springs Sport Recreation page at www.facebook.com .