The bet voters and city leaders made on sports complex is paying off

Published 7:13 pm Monday, October 28, 2019

Last October work was ongoing at the site of the future Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi. Field sites were being prepped, buildings were being constructed and amenities were being added.

Today, the park is close to rounding out its eighth month of operation and what a difference it has made. Even this past weekend, when rain drenched the area Friday and into Saturday morning, the park, with its turf fields, never skipped a beat.

Two tournaments — one softball and one baseball — went off without a hitch and the park even made room later in the day for a fall festival event, with children painting pumpkins, playing games and, as far as the parents were concerned, enjoying way too much food and sugar.

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In less than a year, the facility has become a bragging point for the city of Vicksburg and Warren County. Teams traveling from throughout the south have played at the park, and that business is meaning big business for hotels and restaurants.

But, even though the park has proven its value in just a short time, there will always be naysayers.

There are those who will say the park costs too much and was built on the wrong site. There will be those who will never appreciate the value of what those teams, their parents and extended family bring to the city and county in the way of tourism dollars.

In its first year, there have been hiccups and skips and starts that park officials, recreational league leaders and city officials have worked through. That partnership and working relationship will continue to grow and improve.

In today’s competitive sports market, Vicksburg has become a player. It has become one of the must-visits in this region for teams and tournaments. The vision by city leaders — past and present — to push forward for this park and the faith by the voters who approved the changes to the tax structure to pay for it, is paying off, and the best is yet to come.