Recreation facility needed in Natchez
Published 12:05 am Tuesday, February 4, 2014
It is now 2014 and most towns in the area have already built or are building recreation facilities. Natchez still hasn’t moved on the recreation facility in town.
The Natchez Dixie Youth Baseball program hasn’t had a state tournament in Natchez in several years. While there are three youth fields in Duncan Park, a fourth field is needed to bid on state tournaments.
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Two of the fields in Duncan Park need much work, and a fourth, if at all possible, I hope can be built in Duncan Park. The revenue lost each year by not having any tournaments in town is great.
Let me talk about Vidalia Dixie Youth. The Vidalia Dixie Youth league went and bid on a tournament for the North Louisiana 10- and 12-year-old baseball teams.
They received the bid, and I’m sure the new recreation facility had something to do with it. On the opening night, the league had all the teams, parents and fans at the Convention Center for a big mass meeting.
The sheriff’s department furnished chicken plates for everyone there that the league paid for. I was invited based on the fact that I was a former national director.
When no city official showed up to greet the players, I was asked to make a few comments of which I did. I can tell you the joy and excitement that was there that day for the 560 players and fans was great, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I have been to a lot of these, and this one was as good as any I’ve ever seen. I’m sure the 560 people Vidalia Dixie Youth brought in helped retail stores, restaurants and hotels. It also brought business to the Natchez area. Let me say this about bringing tournaments to Natchez, everybody likes to come to Natchez due to the big fields and shade trees that they can sit under and watch the games. We need another youth field. I hope it can be in Duncan Park.
The T.M. Jennings league has a youth park on the north side of town, and I’m sure they’d be open to and glad to help with any recreation facilities that Natchez can offer.
Soccer is the fastest growing sport in the United States, and Natchez needs to get behind it. As it stands now, the soccer league plays behind Morgantown school. They cut their own grass, have no bleachers, no restroom facilities and no concession stands.
Natchez needs to wake up and help the soccer league. They can certainly bring tournaments to town if they have the facilities to play on.
Girls’ softball is played behind Natchez High School on school property, and parking is in the Natchez High School parking lot. I’m sure they would welcome their own facility that can help build and take care of themselves.
The tennis league has a number of courts in Duncan Park now and, after speaking with Mayor Brown, I’m almost positive there’s room to put in at least two more tennis courts. I’m sure they’d like to keep the tennis courts there because of the big trees. They have tournaments there, and they do a good job and are willing to help with whatever else needs to be done.
In closing, Natchez needs a recreation facility. It’s been put off too long now. In 2010, 78 percent of the voters in the City of Natchez voted in favor of going forward with the recreation topic. That speaks volumes. Let’s do something with proper planning. Walking trails and picnic tables can be added also.
Natchez needs a recreation facility, and Adams County and the City of Natchez need to come together and make this happen.
The recreation topic keeps getting backed down to the lowest priority, and as this happens, we are losing children’s sports to other complexes.
Clarence Bowlin is a Natchez resident.