Baseball tournament brings business to Jonesboro

Baseball tournament brings business to Jonesboro

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The 2015 Cal Ripken Baseball World Series is bringing an economic boom to Jonesboro.

Joe Mack Campbell Park in Jonesboro was selected to host the world series tournament several years ago and the wait is finally over.

The tournament's opening ceremonies were held on Friday night and the first games began at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

The games will go until next Saturday, which means Jonesboro will have quite a few out of town visitors this week.

Teams from 9 different states, including Arkansas, will be in town this week and every hotel room is booked.

"We struggled getting everyone a room but we finally got everyone and we may have even used some hotel rooms in Paragould to make that happen," host president Randy Bearce said.

When the players are not on the fields they will like be out in town at restaurants, shops and places like the the bowling alley.

"A multi-million dollar 10 days for the city of Jonesboro with tax revenue between hotels and food and gas and shopping," Parks and Recreation Director Wixson Huffstetler said.

While the tournament will only be here for a week, the preparation for it took a lot more time.

Bearce said a World Series Committee was created and they have been meeting a lot, especially over the past 2 months when they met about every week.

The Parks and Recreation Department also played a huge role in making the tournament possible.

The department paid the entry fee to host the tournament and did a lot of renovations to the park.

"The last few years we have added bleacher and bleacher covers, we added new pitching areas, we added two new whole fields for practice so it's been in the works," Huffstetler said.

The department spent about 3 years working on the park and getting it ready for the tournament.

Even though the games will end in a week, the renovations will benefit the park in the future 12 to 15 regular tournament Jonesboro holds every year.

Bearce said all the preparation and work was a collaborative effort.

Without renovations from park and recreation, sponsorship from Arkansas State University and support from the city Bearce said the tournament would not have happened.

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