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Story Archives: Fields of Dream
|Fields of Dream|
When Johnny Lee Hoffpauir was head baseball coach at Vidalia High, he was constantly fighting the rain to complete his tournaments.
As recreation director for the City of Vidalia, Hoffpauir is fighting the rain again to complete the City of Vidalia Recreational Complex.
"We're about four weeks behind," Hoffpauir said. "We'll get a hard rain and then it takes two or three days to dry and here comes another rain."
But the rain has not dampened Hoffpauir's enthusiasm for the project.
"I can just envision people traveling from out of town and seeing this whole place lit up and wondering what is all this," Hoffpauir said. "It's going to be something everyone can be proud of and will help bring a lot of dollars to this area."
Hoffpauir said because of the weather and the fact the contractors have to completely sign off on the project before it can be used, he cannot name a specific date for completion of the complex.
"We're hoping to plant the grass for the fields in early April and then it takes a 90-day growing period," Hoffpauir said. "I've had a couple of requests for tournaments in July and right now I just can't give a definite answer. I would certainly love to see it completed by then."
Hoffpauir said another positive is that the new complex will not be affected by high water like the current parks on the north side of Vidalia near the river are.
"During the high water last year we did not have any seepage," he said. "and we've built it up even more."
The complex includes four baseball fields, including one fit for high school and even small colleges.
"There are five softball parks, with two T-ball fields and one large enough for adult softball.
"Each field has its own personality," Hoffpauir said.
Each field will have its own irrigation system.
Two soccer fields will be located behind Wal-mart.
Three basketball courts will be located next to the Vidalia Municipal Complex, with one covered, two lighted and one not covered or lighted.
Twelve tennis courts will be located on the west side of the municipal complex.
The courts are actually completed, but work is continuing on a press box and dressing room facility.
"I've gotten several calls about tournaments," Hoffpauir said.
There is ample parking and room for expansion.
Hoffpauir added with the fields being close to the new municipal complex, security will be enhanced. There will also be cameras on each field which he can watch at all times.
"I'll be able to watch the fields late at night from my own home," he said.
"And there will also be only way one into the facility and an emergency exit."
While Hoffpauir is eager for the complex to be completed, he is not wanting to rush it.
"We want to do it right," he said. "We know it will take some tweaking. The thing I like is that the city and the recreation board are very committed to this project. It's going to be impressive."
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