Sports Video Shown At Meeting Despite Objections

SNOW HILL –  The timing of a video about the growing impact of youth sports tourism prompted one official to voice concerns at a meeting of the Worcester County Commissioners this week.

On Tuesday, the commissioners watched an episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel that focused on the growing influence of youth sports tourism. They watched the video in spite of concerns voiced by Commissioner Chip Bertino, who pointed out that they were watching the video just hours before adjourning to a closed session meeting to discuss property acquisition.

“I think showing this video now sets an expectation that may or may not be there,” he said.

For years, county officials have been exploring the concept of a county-operated sports complex. In 2017, a consulting report set potential costs of such a facility at $25-$30 million but said it could have as much as a $23 million impact in Worcester County. A month after reviewing the report, the commissioners voted 5-2 to have staff identify the best potential site for an eight-field athletic complex.

Though nothing has been said in open session about the search since, following urging from Commissioner Bud Church, county staff arranged for the commissioners to watch Gumbel’s video about the impact of youth sports this week.

Bertino was quick to make a motion to delay the viewing, citing the fact the commissioners were meeting in closed session Tuesday to discuss property acquisition.

“Madam president I’d like to make a motion that the showing of this video be delayed until we’ve had the opportunity to discuss in closed session what we’re going to discuss as far as the sports complex,” Bertino said. “I think showing this video now sets expectations that may or may not be there.”

Church objected. He said he’d been encouraging his peers to watch the Gumbel segment for months.

Though Bertino’s motion to delay the video failed, with only Commissioner Jim Bunting in support, Bertino said after watching the video he stood by his comments.

“I thought it was a big commercial for bringing a sports complex to Worcester County,” he said.

Bertino added he didn’t object to a sports complex in Worcester but did not “believe government should be involved.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.