By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Now that it appears spring has finally sprung, Quincy Park District employees are kicking into high gear to get things ready for the upcoming season.
The popular Batting Cage facility in Upper Moorman Park will open for the season Friday. Mike Bruns, the Park District's director of program services, said new carpet is being installed in the Batting Cage's miniature golf course ahead of this season's opening.
The Batting Cage, Bruns said, consistently turns a profit. It made $32,145 last year, and during the last five years, it is has averaged a profit of $38,452.80 each year. The facility includes the batting cages and the 18-hole miniature golf course, as well as a disc golf course, paddle boat rentals and a concession area.
"With most kids programs, we're going to lose money," Bruns said. "We would love to break even, but that doesn't happen very often. Adult programs, they tend to make money."
The exception to that adult rule is slow-pitch softball. The activity has seen a slow decline in Quincy in the last few years, Bruns said. To keep costs low, only one umpire will be used per game this season rather than one at home plate and another in the field. One of the Park District's recreation supervisors also will supervise the leagues this year for the first time.
"We can't raise the cost of it, or else we're going to lose more teams," Bruns said.
Only 56 teams were in the summer slow-pitch program last year, marking the fifth straight year of decline. In 2008, 83 adult teams signed up.
"We'll be down some more this year," Bruns said, estimating that the final number of participating teams could be less than 50.
The adult softball program lost $7,923 in 2012, its biggest deficit in the last five years. The program has cost the Park District at least $4,000 in each of the last five years, averaging a yearly loss of $5,620.60 in that time.
Registration for adult softball is open through Friday.
The Park District also is accepting registration for its youth summer baseball and softball programs through April 26.
Bruns said all roads in the Park District's 28 parks are open. All restrooms were to be opened and water turned on to parks with those facilities by Friday.
For more information about the Park District or its programs, visit www.quincyparkdistrict.com or call (217) 223-7703.