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May 28
1888 - Olympian Jim Thorpe, "America's greatest athlete," born in Indian Territory (probably near Prague, Okla.); later in life, appeared in many B-Westerns shot in Placerita Canyon [story]
Jim Thorpe


The city of Santa Clarita will provide $200,000 in four $50,000 annual installments to the Wm. S. Hart Baseball & Softball League in exchange for measurable impacts to Santa Clarita’s economy if the City Council approves a marketing agreement Tuesday night.

The 3,000-player organization would have to match the funds dollar-for-dollar and would be responsible for generating at least 150 new room nights at five local hotels by June 2012, increasing to a minimum of 900 room nights after June 2015.

According to a report from Jason Crawford, the city’s economic development and marketing manager, Hart Baseball – whose Mustang team won three of the last four Little League World Series in Texas – hosted two tournaments in 2010 and 2011 and wants to host larger Pony tournaments, sanctioned events such as Super Regionals, and travel team tournaments – but it needs more money to stage the events.

With funds from the city, the league “will work to attract approximately eight new, larger tournaments by 2014, with participating teams traveling from distances that necessitate staying in a hotel for one or more nights.”

If an expected 50 out-of-town teams participate in some of the events, they’d leave “tourism” dollars behind at local hotels and restaurants, helping the local economy in ways which, in the case of hotel stays, can be measured.

If the league meets the goal this year, it will get $50,000 next year, and so on under the $200,000 four-year deal – which grew out of a Sept. 13 meeting of Santa Clarita’s Tourism Marketing District board.

The district was formed in June 2010 to “increase and improve Santa Clarita’s brand awareness, attract visitors to the region, and look for ways to increase the amount of tourism-related economic impact in the city,” Crawford’s report states.

The five district-member hotels that will count toward the league’s annual goals are the Hyatt Regency, Embassy Suites, Courtyard by Marriott, Holiday Inn Express and Best Western Valencia Inn.

Under the agreement, the league, the city and the hotels will jointly track hotel bookings made by visiting teams; the league and city will coordinate event schedules; and the league must demonstrate each year that it has raised as much or more money from outside sources than it receives from the city.

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