Proposed complex would house soccer, softball

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2003

[7/3/03]Soccer players in Vicksburg having to travel to Bovina to play soccer may soon have a solution, if a proposed recreational facility becomes a reality, parks and recreation director Craig Upton told a group on Wednesday.

A proposed softball and soccer complex on a 200-acre plot of land behind St. Michael’s Catholic Church on Fisher Ferry Road would house at least four softball fields and four more that would be used primarily for soccer and flag football, Upton said.

“We’re not just focusing on one activity like baseball or softball or whatever,” Upton said. “We are looking to branch out.”

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The City of Vicksburg has a $1.7 million bond to purchase the land and develop the complex.

Upton said the development of the softball complex will begin first, once the land is secured by the city, because a league already exists.

“My goal is to have everything in one location,” Upton said. “Instead of having baseball fields over here, softball fields across town in another location and whatever else over there, we want to put it all in this multi-purpose complex.”

Vicksburg resident Justin Jones, 19, sent e-mails to city officials in regards to the lack of facilities for adult and youth soccer in the city. His push claimed that soccer had little visibility in the city.

“One of the biggest problems we’ve had is for the inner-city kids, there’s really no visibility at all for soccer,” he said.

Jones is one of many that gathers on Tuesday and Thursday nights on a small piece of land in front of Warren Central High School.

The open field is bordered by the entrance and exit to WC on the north and south, Mississippi 27 to the west and a large drainage ditch on the east side of the field.

Jones said now he is pleased that the city has a plan to alleviate the facility problems.

“We kind of knew they had some stuff in the works,” he said. “Pretty much we were led to believe that they just didn’t have the money or they would use it if they got around to it.”

The city issued a similar bond to this one 10 years ago with the hope of building a sports complex, but instead used the money to build the City Pool.

Upton said the money from the new bond is not enough to make an outstanding facility because a dollar is not worth as much as it was 10 years ago, but he hopes to make it work by pinching pennies.

As a temporary solution, Upton is opening the gym at the Jackson Street Community Center for pickup games.

Beginning Monday, the gym will be open for soccer on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7 to 10 p.m.