Prompted by the debate by the mayor and city Board of Directors over uses for War Memorial Park and the attractiveness of sports facilities, the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau has issued a Request for Proposals for qualified professionals to conduct a feasibility study for outdoor sports facilities in town. The LRCVB commission voted to issue the RFP at its July meeting.
The RFP specifications:
A primary goal of the feasibility study is to determine the need for outdoor, tournament quality, sports facilities in Little Rock, the potential market for such facilities, the size and scope of facilities, as well as the ROI [return on investment] and impact on the local economy if developed. The primary outdoor sports to be evaluated included: soccer, softball and baseball, however field development may also be used for other sports such as lacrosse, rugby, football, etc. The proposed facilities are intended to be used for recruiting sporting events, growing existing sporting events and used as a rental facility for practices, community leagues, and other special events as available.
LRCVB President and CEO Gretchen Hall noted that the agency did a similar study for an indoor sports complex in 2015. Action on that was sidelined by the need to renovate the Robinson Center, but Hall said the plan remains important.
“Sports tourism is a big number for economic impact, and Little Rock doesn’t have very many assets” along that line, Hall said.
The contract would include the study duration and “any resulting projects after the study is completed for a period of five (5) years.” Bidders have until 2 p.m. Aug. 30. The bid will be awarded Sept. 19 after a vote of the LRCVB commission.