City Athletic Complex Opens With New Look
By KELLY GOOCH
Jacksonville’s athletic complex is officially open for sporting events with a new look and multiple improvements.
On Monday evening, city leaders held a grand opening and ribbon cutting for the facility, which underwent various renovations, such as replacing lights on four baseball/softball fields, installing a 1,100-square-foot restroom concession building, installing concrete flatwork in the restroom concession area, and expanding the parking lot for baseball and softball.
“Obviously, it’s a great improvement to our park. A lot of tournaments go on throughout the state, and hopefully with the nice park, we will be attracting those,” said Darrell Prcin, president of the Jacksonville Economic Development Corp.
He said the complex featured wood poles and had needed work for years, but the corporation recently got into a financial situation where it could help with the improvements.
JEDCO agreed to contribute $600,000 toward the renovation work. Demolition of the existing restroom/concession building, which Prcin has called old and antiquated, as well as the parking lot expansion, was to be done by the city. The total cost estimate for the project is more than $700,000, not including in-kind work, such as expanding the parking.
The complex, off Byrd Road, includes four lit baseball/softball fields, four unlit fields, several soccer fields and restroom facilities.
It attracts 600 to 700 children through the city league and the Deep East Texas league and another 70 people through adult softball, Jacksonville Baseball/Softball Association President Ricky Carpenter has said.
And now, Prcin said those residents will have a better facility that is also expected to be an economic benefit.
“It was time to make the improvements and move forward so it can be used for years to come …” he said.
“I think primarily the improvements were done for the city and those that use the field. When word’s out there’s a nice upgraded complex, I think it will draw summer-style type tournaments, which will have a positive economic impact to the community (through people staying overnight and spending money on gas and food).”
Carpenter agreed, saying last year, “It’s going to be great for (the children who use it). Everything’s going to be new, and when things are new, the kids just love it.”