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franklin county times

Baseball fields under repair to host out-of-towners

By Staff
PLAY BALL District 4 Supervisor Joe Norwood inspects a fence blown down during April storms in the outfield at one of the baseball fields at Q.V. Sykes Park. Crews are working to get the fields "playable," as Lauderdale County is scheduled to host state tournaments for Babe Ruth leagues next month. Photo by Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
June 10, 2003
Determination, an obligation and some money from the federal government are making the baseball fields at Q.V. Sykes Park playable again.
If all goes as planned, at least two of the ball fields will be ready for this year's Babe Ruth state tournament in early July an event city officials say could bring $75,000 to $100,000 into the local economy.
The tournament was scheduled to be played in Meridian beginning July 10, before two floods covered the newly-built fields in April. High winds also damaged outfield fencing and the lights.
Lauderdale County's District 4 Supervisor, Joe Norwood, said work on the fields began last week. The county's engineering department created an access road and worked on what will be the parking lot. He said county inmates also weeded the outfield by hand.
Soon after the floods, County Engineer Neal Carson said his crews would be too busy repairing washed-out roads and other jobs associated with the floods. But Carson said the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved $120,000 for rehabilitating the fields repairing fences, correcting erosion problems, sodding, and correcting the lighting, work to be redone by the contractor.
Mark Naylor, director of Meridian's Parks and Recreation Department, said the tournament is expected to bring about 18 teams from two leagues to Meridian, made up of 13- and 14-year-olds. He said each team is usually made up of about 15 players and that many of them will have family members with them who will need lodging.
A ribbon-cutting and official opening of the fields will be done at a later date, Norwood said. For now, the fields are being made playable to meet the city's commitment to host the state tournament.