Posted Date: 01/31/2024
Part Two: Hosting thousands of tourists
Editor’s Note: Matt Bell (executive director of Explore Harrison) and Chuck Eddington (Parks and Recreation director) sat down and discussed the $4.1 million dollars expected to pour into the community this year through tournaments at Harrison facilities. This is part two of the three-part story. Visit harrisonar.gov to read the story in its entirety.
Harrison regularly partners with several national sports organizations, including BeElite Travel Leagues and USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association) Baseball. Several state, district, and regional tournaments are coming back this year, too.
“Teams from outside the area will book with us because we have already built a local base of 30 teams. When teams book, parents must schedule vacation days, reserve hotel rooms, and plan for these events. They don’t like tournaments being canceled because of the weather. They know Harrison tournaments don’t cancel. That is huge,” Bell said.
“Lightning will delay a game but not cancel it,” Eddington explained. “We play in the rain. It’s a major deal to keep a game going.”
Eddington personally coaches four travel teams and takes them to UTrips tournaments. “I eventually got the organizer to come watch one of our high school state tournaments. He saw the quality of our facilities and teams and how we operated. Now, he brings his teams here. Coaches want good competition and tournaments that are run well.”
Bell and Eddington are very excited about the success of the Sports Complex and already have events scheduled for Creekside Community Center.
“I think you’ll be able to take what we’ve done at the complex and match what you’ll do in winter sports once the gyms are all done,” Bell said to Eddington.
Soccer travel teams are also a goal for the pair to attract to Harrison.