Alexandria, La. (Sept. 27, 2021) —The City of Alexandria is making improvements to the athletic practice fields near W.O. Hall Elementary as well as developing plans for other facilities which can be used for practice and casual games on a first-come first-served basis.
“We are adding lights to expand the use of the park near W.O. Hall,” said Larry Spottsville, recreation coordinator. “It will become a neighborhood park with practice fields that are open for evening pratice. We are also adding a backstop at Frank O. Hunter Park. The City also has other green spaces which are open for use and with the growing interest in travel ball, football and other activities, we will work to meet the demand.”
In addition to the improvements at W.O. Hall, the city is evaluating locations at Martin Park, Old Menard Park and other ares to further expand practice locations. “These green spaces can be used at any time for tossing a ball or playing catch, but we hope to add some minor infrastructure like backstops and eventually lights so that our community has several options for play,” said Spottsville.
Currently the City maintains 13 athletic fields and facilities as well as five green spaces within the city’s 24 parks that are available for athletic as well as other recreational activities. Athletic fields and facilities which are open for use by anyone at any time include Cheatham Park basketball courts, Bringhurst Baseball Field, Ben Bradford Field, O’Hearn Mathews Complex and the W.O. Hall Practice Fields. The tennis courts on Masonic are open from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily.
There are six competition-caliber facilities that can be reserved for a fee and proper insurance. “The City has made significant investments in these facilities, and it is our duty to act as good stewards of those assets and to protect the safety of the athletes who are using those facilities,” explained Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall. “Johnny Downs Sports Complex, where we just installed new artificial turf, and the Alexandria Youth Complex are sites that host major tournaments that bring in millions of dollars of revenue to Alexandria. It is critical that we ensure these facilities are maintained at the highest level. Cheatham Park has a stadium used by high school teams and hosts tournament play.”
Hall added the City’s policies limiting access to highly-developed sports parks and complexes are common. “I can’t think of any city with a competitive facility like Johnny Downs or the Alexandria Youth Complex that doesn’t limit use,” he said. “Locally, the fields at Ward 9 and Ward 10, Parc Natchitoches, Ruston, Sulphur – I believe they are all kept locked when not in use and that teams or groups need to schedule times to use the facilities. Much like the zoo, the power plant and City buildings, protecting the investments that have been made is important.”