City looks to expand summer/fall programs

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

TRUMANN, AR (KAIT) - The city of Trumann is looking to expand its summer and fall programs for both youth and adults. Brandon Shrader, Parks and Recreation Director, said Friday the city will begin a flag football league at the Trumann Sports Complex sometime next fall. Shrader said communities in the Midwest have seen successful flag football programs, and Shrader said he believes a similar program would benefit young adults and the local economy.

"Basically just get all the activities out here for all the kids, get them going and get them out of the house and the parents come out and watch those," said Shrader.

According to Shrader, the Trumann Parks and Recreation Department currently sponsors ragball, baseball for children 6-14 years old, softball for children 7-14 years old and a church softball league. Future leagues include soccer for children 5 and up, flag football for children 5 and up, men's softball leagues apart from church softball, adult flag football and adult or child coed kickball.

Shrader said he wants the public to give its input on each possible league. For more information about the Trumann Parks and Recreation Department and its programs, click here.

"We're strong in the middle of baseball/softball right now. We're starting a flag football, which I plan on being very successful. It's through the NFL Youth Program," said Shrader.

According to Shrader, the NFL Youth Program will help the city with equipment and jerseys. The games for flag football would be held at 1 of 4 fields at the Trumann Sports Complex. Shrader said the cost would be reasonable.

"These leagues are actually going to be available to everyone outside the Trumann area. Harrisburg, Bay, the whole northeast Arkansas, even Jonesboro," said Shrader.

Shrader said kids use a soccer field next to the sports complex throughout the summer, but he would like to build a permanent soccer field with seating.

"We've been doing youth soccer for, I believe 3 years now, 3-4 years, and it seems like it's getting bigger every year and hopefully with the right promotions, we can get more kids out there," said Shrader.

The city built the Trumann Skate Park in 2005 through grant money. Skateboard enthusiasts use the facility each day, but rarely have the chance to participate in an official competition. Shrader said the city has done a skateboard competition before, and would like to do another.

"I'm kind of looking to do the same thing. Just kind of get some sponsors; get some really cool stuff and I talked to some of those kids down there and asked them what they thought would be best. We have one of the nicer facilities in the area," said Shrader.

The Parks and Recreation Department is looking for additional grant money to make improvements on existing facilities, and construct new facilities.

Shrader, a Trumann native, said he is a product of youth programs.

"We learned everywhere from teamwork, fundamentals of the game, anything, just interacting with other people. I think it's probably one of the best tools for our youth," said Shrader.

Aside from the programs offered to youth, the city will also benefit from an influx of people. Each weekend, the Trumann Sports Complex holds a baseball/softball tournament of some kind. Shrader said Wal-Mart brings in $80,000 - $100,000 during a weekend.

The city hopes to spur economic growth this summer, with the largest tournament happening the 3rd week of July. Shrader said anywhere from 20-35 teams will play in the Full Throttle Classic.

"It does wonders for the economy. Any good weekend that we have at the softball complex brings in a lot of people in from, especially if you get a lot of teams from out of town to come in, and even the people in town spend quite a bit of money, just going to eat, places like Wal-Mart, having to go pick up some bottled water, lawn chairs, tents to kind of set up here and watch the game," said Shrader.

"I think you're eventually going to see more restaurants start moving this way, but right now, Sonic, it helps them out. McDonalds, I'm sure gets their share," said Shrader.

©2009 KAIT

 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.