One of the four scoreboards installed at the Northwest Recreation Facility softball fields.

“Work is wrapping up on four new softball field scoreboards – the latest improvements to Apopka’s popular Northwest Recreation Complex on Jason Dwelley Parkway”

Those are the words of Apopka Public Information Officer Robert Sargent in a news release the City of Apopka published earlier in the week entitled “Apopka Continues to Improve Northwest Recreation Complex“. Later in the 439-word statement, Sargent additionally writes this about the scoreboards:

“The four new scoreboards from Major Display feature 5-by-10-foot scoreboards and panels for advertising. The scoreboards are operated by wireless controllers. The scoreboards are located on softball fields A, B, C and D near the Northwest Recreation Complex administrative offices.”

At a March 1st, 2017 meeting, the Apopka City Council voted 3-2 to purchase those four scoreboards. Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer, Commissioners Kyle Becker, and Diane Velazquez voted in favor of the purchase, while Commissioners Doug Bankson and Billie Dean voted against it. However, if Becker could vote today, it might be a different case.

 “I’m glad to see the scoreboards were finally installed over the weekend, he said. “These will serve to enhance the game experience for the many leagues and tournament games hosted at our fields.”

A proposed proof of the scoreboard provided by Major Display.
 But while he is happy to see the scoreboards installed, he is not pleased with what he sees or the terms he was told.
 “I am disappointed in the actual product installed, as it differs from what was presented and discussed at our City Council meeting back in March of last year.  Major Display and staff at the time presented and provided renderings of scoreboards with LED video displays, which is understandably a nice selling point for generating advertisement interest to make this a favorable deal for the city, however, the installed boards do not have these LED displays.  In a deal centered on the idea of revenue sharing, we have already lost close to a year of potential revenue waiting for the boards to be installed, which were estimated to be installed after one or two months when I asked during our original consideration of this request.”
 At the March 1st, 2017 meeting, Becker asked Shorty Robbins, who is the representative of Major Display Scoreboards that made the presentation to Council, when the scoreboards would be installed.

 “What’s the timeline you are looking at? Becker asked. “Assuming these get approved… what’s the time it takes to install them and have them up and running?”

One of the four scoreboards installed at the Northwest Recreation Complex softball fields.
 “We can have them in the ground in a month or two,” said Robbins. “It doesn’t take very long. We’ve got a lot of those (scoreboards) under production already. We would have to work with (Apopka) Parks and Recreation to find out what’s a good time for them. My understanding is we would have to run electricity out there.”
 But despite her estimate of one or two months, the date of installation was closer to one year. Becker also asked when she thought the scoreboards would begin generating revenue.
 “When is the sweet spot to secure sponsorships?”
 “We’ve had luck all year ’round in other locations,” said Robbins. “A $5,000 sponsorship isn’t that much when we’re going to people. But that’s back on us.”
 According to Sargent, there are currently no sponsorships for any of the four scoreboards.
 “The scoreboards will be energized next week,” Sargent said. “Sponsorships will follow.”

Bankson expressed skepticism in 2017, and that has not wavered since the installation. At the 2017 meeting he said this:

“My concern with the scoreboard is that it was not budgeted, and we are dealing with a lot of expenditures. Although I see the benefit, I’m against the idea at this time. I don’t see the necessity.”

But in 2018, Bankson’s skepticism has transitioned to outright displeasure.

“Though I was not in agreement with the structure of the arrangement which is why I voted against the scoreboard deal, I am even more unhappy with the quality of the installation and the fact that there are no sponsorships and no LED screens as was intimated at their proposal last year,” he said. “The posts are uneven on all four signs meaning they do not have the same amount of underground depth and could possibly lead to unevenness over time. We should not pay another dime until this is rectified and actually should have some concessions for the amount of wait time which caused us not to be able to highlight them and celebrate the signage at the little league season grand opening last week.  Furthermore, the amount of square footage for advertising space is small and hampers sales. I don’t see why we couldn’t have used limited area at the top of our fences for quality sponsorships. We would have made much more revenue and could have kept all of the proceeds and benefitted the league.”

In 2017, Kilsheimer saw this deal as a chance to get something sooner than expected, and with no strain on city employees.

“This is an amenity for our recreation complex that we can get sooner rather than later and that we can get with minimal impact on the staff,” he said at the March/2017 meeting. We don’t have to go out and manage this process. We’re short-staffed anyway. I’m in favor with moving forward on this because we can get an amenity on this that makes the fields more attractive for the public, more attractive for tournaments and as an experience for the people using the fields. I think it’s the right thing to do. And as far as the money is concerned, we’re going to spend a little money to make a lot of money over the next seven years.”

But unlike Bankson and Becker, he is still pleased with the scoreboards and is happy with the terms of the contract.

“I think the scoreboards make an attractive addition to the fields,” said Kilsheimer. “I asked the recreation director to review the contract. She informed me that the scoreboards meet the terms of the contract.”

Apopka Recreation Director Mariah McCullough, in an email to The Apopka Voice through Sargent, released this statement:

“We are excited to receive the scoreboards and look forward to seeing them operating within a week. They are a nice addition that adds character and convenience to four of the fields at the Northwest Recreation Complex.”

Velazquez also wanted to move forward in 2017 because she was concerned Apopka was falling behind other communities.

“I like these scoreboards because there are other cities and counties building parks to rival ours, and I know from different organizations that they’re starting to look at other counties and cities to take their teams there because in some cases they are getting better deals and better fields,” she said. “We’re really trying to keep up with that competition, but if this is going to happen, this is the height of the season. I realize the investment, and I think it’s something the City of Apopka should be doing. What I’ve seen is our tendency in the past to wait to do things, and then we get behind the eight-ball and we have to try to catch up.”

Unlike Bankson and Becker, she is pleased with the installation of the scoreboards and thinks the staff can iron out the remaining details of the contract.
 “I spoke with City Administrator Glenn Irby to review the project that was presented to the council last year, March 2017,” she said. “I was satisfied seeing the four scoreboards looked like the original presentation. Glenn stated there is another component to be added at a later date re: sponsorships. A news release was issued by our Public Information Officer Robert Sargent announcing the installation of the scoreboards adding to the enhancements already made to the ballfields. I concur with the news release. I have confidence our recreation staff will oversee the completion of the contract as agreed upon.”

 

11 COMMENTS

  1. Of course Mayor Joe would say the scoreboards meet the terms of the contract while commissioners disagree as to what was presented to the City Council. Just another incidence of how Mayor Joe and his administration have an inability to write a contract!!

  2. This fiasco alone should change the makeup of the city council by getting rid of Joey and Diane, vote Bryan Nelson our new Mayor.

  3. All I see is incompetence portraying itself as excellence. This is why we need to pay more attention to these so-called public servants. Some of them need babysitters and their hands held. What a disgrace!

  4. Since when did the recreation director become proficient in reading and interpreting in commercial contract? The scoreboards certainly aren’t what Joe sold to the Apopka City Commission last year but he needed to show the voting public something in time for the election. It’s just one more item in a long list of foul ups of which he’s the ringmaster.

    • Because much like Superman, there are no boundaries when it comes to protecting truth, justice and the American Way. Up, up and away! ❤️

  5. Where’s the advertising? Who cares why they are a year late… That gave extra time to sell those $5,000 “partnerships.”

  6. This manufacturer is garbage. In a couple of years they will be need of replacing them again. Why would anyone city buy a product from a company that has only been making scoreboards for 5 or so years.

    • Because Mayor Joe Kilsheimer is totally inept when it comes to business, negotiating and structuring any type of deal. He paid these people almost $50K up front and lost any leverage that he might have otherwise had. It’s no wonder that the scoreboards are almost a year late in arriving, don’t work and most certainly not of the design that was approved by Joe. I firmly believe that he could hose up the Easter Parade!

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