Time for a sports complex is now

Published 9:44 am Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Last week, The Post published an editorial calling on more investment in our existing city fields and parks to better attract tournaments, events and with them, tourism dollars.

It is a position the newspaper has been endorsed and an issue we have covered thoroughly.

This weekend, the tournament softball team our daughter plays for, hosted a softball tournament at Bazinsky Field. The tournament welcomed four 10-under teams to Vicksburg, all from outside the Vicksburg area.

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There were teams from Clinton, Yazoo City and the Jackson area.

The one-day tournament was put together to raise money for our new tournament team, and the event — thanks to our coaches, volunteers, other organizations and crews from the city — went great.

But as I watched the games, enjoying not having a routing interest in a game for once, I looked around at those who came to Vicksburg to cheer on their teams.

In a late afternoon game, I saw fans holding cups from local restaurants, where they had gone to grab a quick lunch.

There were shopping bags from local stores, where parents had stocked up on ice, drinks and snacks.

And then it hit me once again, the impact — although small by comparison — this tournament had on Vicksburg.

The money from gate receipts and the concession stand went to support our local team, true. But, the gas these teams and visitors put in their cars, the meals they ate while in town and the ice and drinks they purchased, went to support Vicksburg — all of Vicksburg.

And this was just a four-team tournament. Imagine what the impact is from those who bring in 10 to 20 teams.

It is again proof that our fields and parks are important to our economy and the idea of sports complex is one that needs to jump off the planning pages and become reality.

Yes, The Post has been critical of the proposed sites of the park on Fisher Ferry Road, but the newspaper has not been critical of the complex itself.

It is time the complex project moves forward. It is time that a workable site is found and preparations begin to place funding initiatives on the ballot.

A four-team softball tournament brought hundreds of dollars into Vicksburg Saturday that went to support local businesses and local jobs.

It is time Vicksburg got serious about sports tourism and joins the ranks of those cities with top-of-the line facilities that can help attract more tournaments, larger tournaments, with far more visitors.

Vicksburg has too much going for it to wait any longer.

Tim Reeves is publisher of The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at tim.reeves@vicksburgpost.com. Readers are invited to submit their opinions for publication.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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