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For more than a dozen years, the Eddie C. Moore complex has hosted a number of major softball tournaments, including the popular USF Series.
The facility also is home to dozens of recreational leagues, annually attracting thousands of players and spectators to 2780 Drew St.
With that in mind, the city council consented last week to allow a concession stand on the property. Edward Bates will pay $26,000 a year to the city in exchange for the right to operate his Kinney's Kitchen there.
As we previously discussed with council, we were going to be going out and doing an RFP (request for proposal) for the concessions operation at the Eddie C. Moore complex, Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Dunbar said during the council workshop. We had one sole respondent, and that is with providing the city with $26,000 per year, a guaranteed sum, which is more than we've ever achieved before.
The agreement calls for Bates to begin operating at the complex on July 1. The one-year deal will expire on June 30, 2015, with the city holding an option to renew the arrangement for up to four more years.
The concessions agreement comes at an ideal time for the complex, as the facility will play host to a major international softball tournament three years from now.
In late July 2017, the city, working with the St. Pete/Clearwater Sports Commission, was successful in securing the ISF World Championships,
Dunbar said. We anticipate 22 to 26 different countries will be here participating at our facilities. It is considered the third most prestigious event in the world.
With softball potentially returning to the Olympics in 2020, he noted, many players who would participate in the Tokyo games will play in the International Softball Federation's tournament.
It's the culminating piece of what we've done with fast-pitch softball over the last dozen years or so, Dunbar said.
The ISF announced last month that Clearwater will host the top event in fast-pitch softball for girls 19 and younger from July 24-30, 2017. The XII ISF Junior Women's World Championship will mark the first time the city has hosted an ISF world championship.
In a news release from Amateur Softball Association, Mayor George Cretekos said, Clearwater and Pinellas County (are) becoming the softball capital in the southeastern United States and (are) recognized throughout the country as a premier location for softball tournaments. The city is honored to have been chosen to host the XII Junior Women's World Championships. All of us look forward to welcoming these world-class athletes and hopefully future Olympic champions to Clearwater's sugar sand beaches and to the United States.
The release also quotes D.T. Minich, executive director of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater Convention & Visitors Bureau, who said, We're honored to be named host destination for the 2017 ISF Junior Women's Softball World Championship, said. Hosting an event of this caliber bolsters the area's reputation as a leader in sports tourism, and we're looking forward to showing off all the area has to offer.
The Amateur Softball Association, based in Oklahoma City, submitted the 2017 bid on behalf of the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission.