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Parents want supervisors to lease sports complex

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
July 29, 2001
A group of parents in the West Lauderdale community wants Lauderdale County supervisors to lease land for a baseball and softball complex where they plan to build eight fields.
District 3 Supervisor Craig Hitt said the property is located on Highway 495 next to West Lauderdale Elementary School. It is 16th Section land governed by the Lauderdale County school board.
The school board is obtaining a property appraisal, which could be used to determine the annual lease fee, Hitt said. He said he believes supervisors will approve the lease, which will give them authority to provide dirt, gravel and maintenance.
Supervisors began leasing land for sports associations a couple of years ago, he said.
Though Hitt does not serve the West Lauderdale baseball and softball associations, his daughters play softball with the league.
The girls play at Richard May Park, located next to West Lauderdale High School. Hitt said the county's long-term lease with the Lauderdale County school board to use the school's field runs out in the next couple of years, but the problem now is space.
Renee Covert has two daughters in the West Lauderdale Community Softball Association. Her oldest, 12, has been playing for seven years.
Charlie Turner is the West Lauderdale Baseball Association president and is a board member for the softball association. He has a son and daughter who play.
Turner said many parents have children who play at different ball parks. Some have as much as a 15-mile drive between parks.
If they get the lease, he said the associations will raise funds and apply for grants to build a facility to accommodate the more than 600 children in the area.
He said the new sports complex would draw children not currently involved in the programs and could also draw outside tournaments.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.