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July 30, 2010

Mayor and City Council present $250,000 check to ULM for University Park upgrades

Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, on behalf of the Monroe City Council, presented a check for $250,000 on Wednesday, July 28, for continued upgrades at ULM’s University Park/Softball Complex.

The University of Louisiana at Monroe enjoys a long-standing partnership with the City of Monroe, as well as the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau, through their support of University Park. ULM Interim President Steve Richters said Wednesday’s event celebrated a 20-year community partnership that was critical to the economic success of the region.

“We are here to celebrate today the synergy of working together, which allows us to accomplish more than either of us could accomplish working alone,” said Richters.

“We appreciate this opportunity to partner with City of Monroe and the Monroe-West Monroe CVB. Today’s generous donation by the city helps us make a good park great, a park that provides a social and economic benefit to this area. We are especially proud of the regional leadership provided by Mayor Jamie Mayo, one of ULM’s accomplished alumni. We look forward to continuing a productive partnership between the city and the university for many more years to come.”

Richters gave historical information about the three-way partnership that helped build University Park, noting that major renovations funded by the CVB and Monroe provided new lighting, scoreboards, seating and turf several years ago.

Wednesday’s donation will provide upgrades to prep the park for tournament play, including new entrance gates, flag poles, new roofing for the dugouts, drainage, and a brick backstop and netting on all fields, Richters said.

“The park certainly provides a pleasant and safe recreational facility for our area residents, but is also used by ULM students for intramurals. We all know that outside class activities develop well-rounded students and produces well-rounded graduates,” he said.

“The complex is used year-round by area youth who compete in baseball, softball and football, and is used for tournaments that brings in families from all over the state. When they come, these families stay in local hotels, eat at our restaurants and shop in our stores.”

ULM Student Government Association President Brook Sebren thanked the mayor and city council, along with the CVB, for their generosity on behalf of the ULM student body. Sebren said the working relationship between the university and the city helps keep ULM the “central hub” of northeast Louisiana and he also spoke of the park’s importance – which is the only one of its kind in the state – for the students who utilize it.

“Intramural sports are important to any college campus, because it allows students to take a break from the classroom and participate in sports, regardless of their athletic ability and skill, and enjoy themselves while they do it,” he said.

“This definitely is a great example of where we work together to make successful events happen here,” noted Monroe CVB Executive Director Alana Cooper.

"I am awfully proud to be here today,” said Mayo, just before he was joined by city council member Jay Marx to deliver the $250,000 check at the end of the ceremony.

Mayo said the city had given an estimated $625,000 through its partnership with ULM over the last several years.

Some of those university-related projects include roughly $250,000 annually in free advertising through adjustments to the color scheme of Monroe’s public transportation system so that it more closely mirrors that of ULM; approximately $25,000 for renovations at Fant-Ewing Coliseum; a $90,000 contribution toward ULM’s new mobile health unit.; roughly $10,000 towards ULM’s 2010 Strength & Conditioning Summit, which attracted coaches and trainers from across the state, region and world; and finally, about $5,900 annually for the maintenance of University Park.

“We are serious about our commitment to the university,” Mayo said.

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