The Rincon Recreation Department’s new director laid out some of the changes and improvements he has in mind to city council members.
David Wooten, who had been assistant director of Effingham County Recreation and Parks, wants to address a growing concern about the availability of officials for games and the concession stand at Macomber Park.
“The price of officials is going up, and there is not a lot of them,” he said.
Wooten is looking at the differences between two area officials associations to provide umpires and referees for youth games. He would like to see the RRD build its own pool of refs, much as the ECRP has done.
“In order for us to save money on officials, we have to build our own stable,” he said. “It will take some time, but we can do it. I think we can offer a little more money than what Effingham County pays and still save money.”
Wooten also has taken a look at the concession stand receipts and has decided to cut back on some offerings while adding others.
“We’re going to cut out some items that are excessive,” he said.
That means the chicken fingers and French fries — and the deep fryer used to cook them — likely will be replaced by a deal with Domino’s Pizza. Wooten acknowledged the fingers and fries were popular items but took a while to prepare and also led to other issues.
“It’s easier to handle for the patrons,” Wooten said of the pizza slices. “The disposal of grease is not an easy thing to do.”
Wooten’s first day on the job was July 14, and he was offered the position on July 9. George Foley, who had been the director, remains on the staff.
“He brings us experience and a knowledge of Effingham County,” Rincon City Manager Donald Toms said of Wooten. “With the two departments working together, it was definitely a plus.”
The city advertised the position for about a month and interviewed three people, Toms added. He also complimented
Wooten on his knowledge of facilities management and in organizing youth sports.
“He brings a knowledge of organizing adult sports,” Toms said. “That may be something Rincon looks at in the future.”
Council members were effusive in their praise of Wooten’s plans.
“I think we’re heading in the right direction,” said Levi Scott.
Wooten is working on a set of coaches’ policies for practices and on new guidelines for parents and spectators.
“I’m still tinkering with them,” he said.
The rec department’s phone line also doubles as its fax line, and it’s often difficult for rec department staff to receive and return calls, Wooten said. He also said he wants to improve the lines of communication between the department and its users.
Wooten has given a copy of the recreation department’s schedule of games to the Rincon Police Department so that an officer can be assigned to be there during play, just in case fans or others get out of hand.
“The presence of an officer really helps,” he said.
Wooten said there will be someone in the office from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. every day and either he or Foley will be at the games from start to finish.
In addition, Wooten said he will be getting estimates for fencing to stop foul balls from the ballfield going to the playground. He also is looking at erecting batting cage netting between the light poles to corral stray foul balls.